Schultheis' 4 TDs help Mars bounce Blackhawk
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Mars' Josh Schultheis said there's no reason to question his Planets' No. 2 seed.
“We proved ourselves. Definitely,” said Schultheis, who rushed for four touchdowns in Friday night's 45-21 win over visiting No. 15 Blackhawk in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. “We heard a lot of about how we were the underdogs in this game.”
That certainly wasn't the case, and the sophomore was a big reason why. Schultheis scored on runs of 7, 25, 43 and 2 yards, part of his 251 yards on 26 carries.
But the Mars defense also was good, slowing Blackhawk's star quarterback, talented rusher and WPIAL-leading receiver. The Planets sacked Chander Kincade five times and intercepted him once. They held 1,000-yard rusher Cole Chiapialle to 19 yards on 10 carries. And while wideout Alex Caratelli had nine catches for 177 yards, most came in the second half when Mars already was well ahead.
“Our plan coming in was to put as much heat on (Kincade) as we could,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. “He didn't throw any balls downfield.”
Winner of the Greater Allegheny conference, Mars (9-1) will face West Mifflin (9-1) in the second round.
Mars scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, needing just five plays to take a 21-0 lead.
Those first seven minutes confirmed two season-long trends: Mars has a great run game, and Blackhawk's defense hasn't been good enough.
“Disastrous,” Blackhawk coach Joe Hamilton said of his Cougars' start. “Our nemesis all year has been the defense.”
Great field position helped Mars take its early lead. The Planets' first two touchdown drives covered just 13 and 25 yards.
A long opening kickoff return by Alex Smith started the first. Two carries by Schultheis, covering 6 and 7 yards, gave Mars a 7-0 lead 48 seconds into the game.
One minute later, the Planets scored again.
On first down at the Blackhawk 25, Schultheis ran 4 yards and fumbled. The bouncing ball was scooped by Owen Nearhoof, who ran the final 21 yards. With just 1:48 gone in the first quarter, Mars led, 14-0.
The third scoring drive covered 66 yards. It was just two plays: a 41-yard run by Nearhoof and a 25-yard touchdown run by Schultheis. With 5:32 left in the first quarter, Mars led, 21-0.
A 43-yard touchdown by Schultheis in the second quarter extended Mars' lead to 28-0.
Blackhawk had a 99-yard touchdown drive to begin the second half, highlighted by a 55-yard catch by Caratelli. A 1-yard touchdown run by Kincade capped the drive, cutting Mars' lead to 28-14 with 8:04 left in the third.
But Mars kept scoring, including a 2-yard touchdown run by Schultheis less than four minutes later.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-5666.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.