St. Mary’s Springs football coach Bob Hyland said he wasn’t sure how his inexperienced team would fare in its first varsity start.
But following Saturday night’s 37-0 thumping of Sheboygan Falls at Fruth Field, he has to be feeling pretty good.
“We just won 37-0 and that’s a quality Sheboygan Falls team,” Hyland said. “They played better later in the game, they got more aggresive and got after it more and I think they are going to win a lot of football games. I’m very pleased with our group.”
One thing for certain that Hyland knew about the team was the ability to run, as the Ledgers returned four out of the five lineman, and also Ike Floyd at runningback.
The Ledgers ran for a team 314 yards, while Floyd picked up 184 of them.
“It felt good, I had some really nice holes and broke a couple of tackles and everyting was working for me,” Floyd said.
Floyd finished the day with four touchdowns, with three of them coming in the first quarter.
After a Falcons punted in their first possession to start the game, it only took Floyd two carries to give the Ledgers a 6-0 lead after he ran it in from 31 yards. The next Ledger possession, they drove the ball 40 yards in four mintues and Floyd capped off the drive with a 5-yard scamper to give them a 13-0 lead with 4:41 left in the first.
After another Falcon punt, Floyd busted a 43-yard run that included a couple of broken tackles to give Springs a 20-0 lead with 1:48 left in the first quarter.
“What do you say about Ike Floyd? What a jitter bug,” Hyland said. “He was flying early and it’s hard to catch him. When he gets into the open he’s gone.”
Floyd rushed for 93 yards in the first quarter alone — but Floyd and the rest of the Ledger offense went quiet in the second. Both teams put up a zero in the score column and Springs took a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Ledgers picked things up in the second half, after Floyd got away from the Falcon defense on only the third carry and scored on a 56-yard run to extend the Ledgers’ lead to 27-0.
While the offense did what they had to do, Hyland was just as impressed with how the defense played. The Ledgers allowed only 121 total yards, and most importantly didn’t allow the Falcon offense to get into their territory. The Falcons only crossed the 50-yard line twice and had seven first downs.
“We came after them and forced them to throw quickly and that’s why they couldnt’ get anything down the field,” Hyland said. “I’m very pleased with our defense.”
Quarterback Zach McLaughlin, who started his first varsity game after sitting out his junior season with an injury, managed the game well despite throwing the ball only seven times. He finished the day 3-for-8 for 24 yards, but had a successful day on the ground — which included a 23-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to increase their lead to 34-0.
“He did a good job, both him and the other (new) guys kept their heads on and we didn’t have too many mistakes,” Floyd said about McLaughlin’s first game as the quarterback.
“We were very pleased with him, he hasnt’ played since sophomore year and i’m sure he was a little nervous out there,” Hyland said. “We got on him for reading the option better and that paid off for us in the end. I think as he grows he’ll get more confident. When he turns it up, he’s a beast to work with.”
New kicker Nate Hintze, who played soccer the last two seasons, added a 34-yard field goal late in the third quarter to cap off the scoring for the night.