LIBERTY CENTER Before last night, everyone knew about Patrick Henry s big-play offense featuring quarterback Zack George and receiver Marc Krauss.
But the Patriots convincing 55-21 victory over Henry County rival Liberty Center at Tiger Stadium last night featured some of the other members of PH s talented offensive cast.
The Patriots leading receiver wasn t Krauss, who was double and triple-teamed all night. It was senior Brian Yarnell, who caught a game-high seven passes for 191 yards and a touchdown.
And while George had the passing game clicking to the tune of 256 yards, Patrick Henry s running game ground out 252 yards and six touchdowns. Senior Josh Strub ran for 109 yards and three TDs on 18 rushes, while sophomore Drew Kuesel added 108 yards on just five carries as the Patriots improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the NWOAL.
Liberty Center is 3-1 and 2-1.
Brian Yarnell had an outstanding football game tonight, PH coach Bill Inselmann said. He made some excellent catches. Josh Strub had a big game. And how many times did my little halfbacks Zack Bonner and Drew Kuesel run hard and make big catches? It was a complete team effort.
Liberty Center stopped the Patriots on their first drive of the game, but Patrick Henry scored on its next five possessions to build a 35-14 lead at the break.
The Tigers, who had minus 2 yards on their first two possessions, used a 54-yard TD run by Tate Slee to close the gap to 14-7 at the end of the quarter.
On Patrick Henry s first possession of the second quarter, George hit Krauss with a 27-yard scoring strike.
Liberty Center then drove down to the Patrick Henry 10, but on a running play Paul Smith fumbled as he neared the goal line. The Patriots Tom Busch caught the fumble in the air and returned it to the PH 21.
After a sweep lost yardage, Keusel threw a halfback option pass to Yarnell, who was alone behind the LC defense for an 82-yard touchdown.
That was a big momentum change, Liberty Center coach Rex Lingruen said. We got back slowly into the game, and we were starting to move the ball. We had to put it in every time we had an opportunity.
In the second half Patrick Henry switched to the running game and ground out three time-consuming scoring drives.
I was more worried about stopping their run [game], because I knew they would complete some passes, Lingruen said. Unfortunately, we missed tackles. We hit them, but we didn t hang onto them.
Liberty Center managed just 70 yards of offense in the second half, but Inselmann said that was more of a testament to his team s offense than its defense.
Every time they scored our offense went down the field and scored to take the wind right out of them, Inselmann said. If we don t have that dynamic offense, this is a ball game. The bottom line is that our defense has to get better.
And what should scare Patrick Henry s future opponents is that those impressive offensive totals came with Krauss catching just three passes for 37 yards, while George completed 14-of-17 passes but threw for just 174 yards.
The bottom line is that you win with talent and we have talent, Inselmann said.
Contact John Wagner at:email@example.com or 419-724-6481.