ST. MARYS — Karns City scored 34 unanswered points after falling behind 6-0 on its way to a 55-20 victory over St. Marys on Homecoming Friday night.
The Dutch took the lead with the game’s first score near the midway point of the first quarter before Karns City responded with a score of its own as the game headed into the second quarter tied at six.
The Gremlins then used a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter and two more in the third to break the game open at 34-6.
St. Marys (3-3) was unable to slow down the Karns City rushing attack, as the visitors finished with 349 rushing yards, led by quarterback Anthony Kamenski and Hunter Rowe, who each finished with over 100 yards rushing for the game with 131 and 123 respectively.
While Kamenski only competed three of his nine passes on the night, they went for a combined 155 yards and two scores, both to Kaden Scherer who caught touchdown passes of 78 and 55 yards.
The home side was much more one dimensional on the offensive side of the ball, as Christian Coudriet went 18-of-38 passing for 330 yards and three scores along with a pair of interceptions, including a pick-six.
Of those 330 passing yards, 161 went to Bryce Walker, who finished the game with eight catches and one touchdown.
In the ground game the Dutchmen managed just 42 yards on 23 carries in the loss as they have now suffered back-to-back losses after a three-game winning streak.
Karns City (4-2) won the opening toss and deferred to the second half, as the Dutch offense took to the field first, but was forced to punt after a three-and-out.
Cain Pfoutz’s punt was blocked as the Gremlins had prime field position for their opening drive, starting out on St. Marys’ 28-yard line.
The visitors eventually found themselves with a 4th-and-4 at the 10, as Kamenski looked to pick up the first on the ground, but was lit up in the backfield by Sean Lathrop for a loss of two and a turnover on downs.
After St. Marys’ second drive of the game started with a pair of short runs then a false start penalty, it faced a 3rd-and-8 from its own 14-yard line.
That is when Coudriet and Walker took over, as the quarterback-wide receiver duo connected on three straight plays for 21, 16 and 49 yards to find the end zone.
On the third, Coudriet hit Walker deep down the far sideline as he made his man miss and broke free for the 49-yard touchdown, as a blocked extra point left the Dutch with a 6-0 lead at the 6:26 mark of the first quarter.
Karns City responded with a 10-play scoring drive led by Luke Garing, who accounted for 57 of the 68 yards on the drive and capped it with a 1-yard plunge up the middle for a score.
After a missed extra-point attempt, the game was tied at six, which remained the score at the end of one quarter of play.
Early in the second quarter, the Gremlins faced a third down near midfield, as St. Marys forced a fumble on the play which was recovered by Alex Lukaschunis as the Dutch took over possession.
They were unable to capitalize on the turnover though, as a pair of short runs and a sack forced another Pfoutz punt from near midfield, which went for 30 yards and set Karns City up at its own 22-yard line.
Kamenski dropped back on the first play and found Scherer for their first of two touchdown connections on the quarter, as the receiver broke free from a trio of Dutchmen defenders for a 78-yard score to make it 13-6 3:28 into the second quarter.
St. Marys looked to bounce back on its next drive, as a trio of completed passes by Coudriet to Walker (17 yards), Josh Robinson (35 yards) and Terry Williams (11 yards) set it up deep inside Gremlin territory.
On the play following Williams’ catch, he took the handoff from the 4-yard line and looked to get around the right side for a score, but as he was brought down near the goal line the ball popped free and rolled out of the end zone.
After a lengthy discussion amongst the referees, it was determined the ball was knocked free before Williams was down or the ball crossed the goal line, resulting in a turnover and a touchback.
After the team’s traded three-and-outs, Scherer came back to the ball on a deep pass from Kamenski and took it 55 yards for a touchdown for Karns City, as a bad snap on the extra-point attempt led to a failed run giving the visitors a 19-6 lead with 3:12 left in the half, which remained the score heading into the locker room.
“Momentum is magnified with high school guys and we have a big play then they (Karns City) come back with a big play and it took us too long to recover,” St. Marys head coach Chris Dworek said. “That’s a mental toughness thing that we’ve just gotta get better.”
Halftime brought the Homecoming festivities, as MacKenzie Fiasco was named the Homecoming Queen.
The Gremlins needed just four plays on the opening drive of the second half to find the end zone once again just 1:23 into the third quarter as Rowe finished the drive off with a 5-yard rushing score.
On Karns City’s next drive, it worked its way into the red zone and faced a 2nd-and-1 from the 12-yard line as Kamenski dropped back to pass.
James Davis picked off the pass and returned it 18 yards to the 23-yard line of the Dutch to give his team possession as they looked to get back in the game.
Instead, a screen pass on the first play of the drive was intercepted by Austin Brown to put the nail in the coffin.
Four plays later Garing rushed in from a yard out to make it 34-6 with 3:54 to go in the third quarter.
St. Marys responded a minute and 12 seconds later when Coudriet found Logan Mosier for a 23-yard passing touchdown to trim the deficit to 34-12, but that was as close as the Dutchmen would come.
The Gremlins scored on their next drive, as Kamenski took the opening play of the fourth quarter 19 yards for a score.
After a Coudriet to Kline connection for a 20-yard score, Karns City added scores on a 40-yard Kamenski run and a 40-yard interception return by Jayce Anderson on a ball that deflected off the hands of a St. Marys receiver in the final minute to bring the final score to 55-20.
“We had some sparks there in the second half, but we just couldn’t sustain untying,” Dworek said. “The big plays definitely hurt, they are just like knockout punches and we’ve gotta recover from them a little better.”