Mars' sophomore rambles for 251 yards in win
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A trainer worked on Josh Schultheis' injured right hand in the locker room Friday night after a WPIAL playoff game. Schultheis explained how it hurt when he bent the hand a certain way.
In the other locker room, Blackhawk was hurting from Schultheis' feet.
Mars did not have any passing yards against Blackhawk, but Schultheis, a sophomore, stomped through Blackhawk's defense for a big game and led Mars to a 45-21 victory against Blackhawk in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. Schultheis, a hard-running 6-foot, 215-pound fullback, finished with 251 yards on 26 carries and scored four touchdowns as Mars, the No. 2 seed in Class AAA, ran its record to 9-1.
It was an impressive performance by Schultheis and a performance by Blackhawk that has never been seen before. Blackhawk has played in 49 WPIAL playoff games under longtime coach Joe Hamilton. The 45 points scored were the most against a Cougars team in the WPIAL postseason.
The previous high was 36 by a great Aliquippa team in 1988.
"We run the wing-T offense and it's a running offense," said Schultheis, who has 1,646 yards this season. "We have the ability to pass, but it's just that we have a better running game. The holes always seem to be there. Our running game has just been dominant this year."
The win overshadowed a fine performance by Blackhawk quarterback Chandler Kincade. A junior and a Pitt recruit, Kincade completed 22 of 35 passes for 337 yards. But Blackhawk had only 26 yards rushing for the game and Kincade was sacked five times. Blackhawk also had some key fumbles at the worst times.
Blackhawk's Cole Chiappialle, who ran for more than 400 yards a few weeks ago, was held to 19 yards on 10 carries.
"Mars' running game is good, but we weren't very good defensively," said Hamilton, whose team had been shaky defensively much of the season. "It hurts not to be able to play defense because we've usually been pretty good defensively over the years."
Mars jumped on Blackhawk early, grabbing a 14-0 lead before the game was two minutes old. Alex Smith returned the opening kickoff 61 yards to the Blackhawk 13 and Schultheis scored on a 7-yard run two plays later.
After a 12-yard Blackhawk punt, Mars' next possession started on the Blackhawk 25. On first down, Schultheis took a handoff and gained a few yards before fumbling. But quarterback Owen Nearhoof scooped up the ball on the run, and ran 21 yards for a touchdown.
"That deflates anybody," Hamilton said. "You're just sitting there saying, 'Oh, man, what a way to start.' "
Schultheis scored on runs of 25 yard and 43 yards later in the first half before Blackhawk got on the scoreboard with 35 seconds left in the second quarter on Kincade's 5-yard touchdown pass to Andy Podbielski.
Kincade scored on a 2-yard run to make it 28-14 in the third quarter, but Mars answered. Schultheis scored on a 2-yard run, Matt White a 35-yard field goal and Jason Lozzi a 17-yard run to make it 45-14.
First Published November 3, 2012 12:18 am