No. 6 Mars, Schultheis rush past Indiana
Mars coach Scott Heinauer insists the Planets have more of a passing game than they've had in the past because of quarterback Owen Nearhoof.
With the way Mars ran the football against No. 10 Indiana on Friday, anyone watching the Planets' 38-15 win will have to take Heinauer's word for it.
Led by Josh Schultheis, who gained 212 yards and scored three touchdowns, No. 6 Mars used a powerful ground attack to pile up 356 rushing yards during a Class AAA Greater Allegheny win at Mars Athletic Complex.
The Planets attempted only three passes, completing one.
“The line pulled it together,” Schultheis said. “When they do what they're supposed to do, things open up.”
Credit left tackle Gabe Spurlock, left guard Trevor Heyl, center Robb Miller, right guard John King, right tackle Joel Glomb and tight end Nolan Skirtich.
“Our big thing was to be physical,” Heinauer said. “And we were physical. I thought being physical would be the difference in the game, and it happened to be the difference in the game.”
The win by Mars (2-1, 2-1) coupled with No. 4 Franklin Regional's loss to Highlands means the Planets have a chance to force a three-way tie atop the conference with a win at Highlands next week.
Besides Schultheis, Jason Lozzi ran for 58 yards and a 17-yard touchdown, the second of three scoring runs for Mars in the third quarter.
Indiana quarterback Sean Thompson completed 8 of 15 passes for 103 yards but was intercepted twice — both by Mars' Travis Ganter. Ian Scott ran for a team-high 76 yards for Indiana (1-2, 1-2).
Mars scored on its first possession, going to Schultheis five consecutive times to open the game, highlighted by a 44-yard gain. Schultheis scored from 2 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
“Schultheis is a great back,” Indiana coach Mark Zilinskas said. “He's done it week in and week out.”
Scott intercepted Nearhoof and, on the next play, ran 36 yards to tie the score 7-7 midway through the first quarter. But Schultheis scored his second touchdown, a 1-yard run, for a 14-7 Mars second-quarter lead.
Mars came out in the second half intent on being even more physical. And running the ball. Both worked.
Schultheis' third TD, a 2-yarder, put Mars ahead 21-7.
“We'll throw it if we have to, but we felt like we needed to kill clock and move the football down the field,” Heinauer said. “We did that in the second half.”