HOLMES TOWNSHIP — The Wynford Royals are just showing off now.
To who? The homecoming crowd? The 2005 Wynford football team in attendance?
Whomever it was, the Royals surely put on a show for them on Friday night when they hosted the Seneca East Tigers.
The Royals came into the game undefeated in Northern 10 Conference play, ranked Number 1 in their region and they still played like they had a chip on their shoulders it their 55-6 demolishing of the Tigers.
“They (Seneca East) are fourth in our region and it was time for us to show out,” Wynford running back Nick Looker said. “It was a big win for us. It was awesome that we could play like that for the homecoming crowd.”
The Royals honored the 2005 Wynford football team by playing one of their best games of the season.
The game looked like a shootout early. The Royals marched down the field and put up seven points in a hurry. Seneca East and its high-powered, fast-paced offense used the passing game to cut the lead 7-6 after a failed two-point conversion.
“They always keep you on pins and needles,” Wynford coach Gabe Helbert said. “They are a very fast offense. If you look at how many plays they have ran this year, they have probably ran double the amount of plays as most teams. They put the pressure on you.”
But, that would be the last time the Tigers scored. From then on, the Royals forced four punts, a turnover on downs and intercepted a pass to cap off an impressive defensive turnaround.
“We really buckled down and we covered well all game long,” Helbert said. “It was important that we tackled well in space and we did that. We stopped the screens well and our defense just battled like they always do.”
The Royals offense saw the usual performances out of Looker and do-it-all quarterback Zach Hoffman, but it was what they saw from Cole Fortner that had the Wynford faithful doing a double take.
The speedster carried the ball just four times, but twice he broke through the line and outran everyone to the end zone. He scored on his first touch of the game on a 63-yard dash that looked like everyone else was in slow motion. He finished with 110 yards on four carries and two touchdowns.
“My line made great holes for me and I just cut it up inside and followed the blocks and just used my speed,” Fortner said. “Every opportunity I get, I just want to make the best of it.”
The combo of Looker and Hoffman produced a pair of 171 rushing yard performances. Each also scored two touchdowns a piece and the only difference in each other’s stats sheet was Looker had three more carries.
Hoffman also threw for 25 yards and a touchdown to Tony Watson. It was just the performance Helbert had in mind for the occasion.
“First of all, it was really an honor to be a part of this,” Helbert said. “It was very special to be able to host the 2005 team and play like this in front of them and all of the other alumni that came back to watch us play. These guys traveled a long way and it just speaks volumes about who they are as kids and the parents that raised them.”
The Royals stuffed the stat sheet with 575 total yards, 550 coming on the ground. Aside from Looker, Hoffman and Fortner, Robbie Miller got in on the action with 72 yards on two carries including a 52-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Seth Hoffman blocked a punt, Tristan Tobias recorded a sack and Brandon Shutler intercepted a pass to highlight the defensive stats.
For the Tigers, Brennan Martin completed 12 of 28 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. His lone scoring pass was on a 4-yard strike to Brayden Walker. Walker caught four balls for 38 yards. The Tigers were unable to run the ball adding just 57 yards on the ground. Brock Martin was the top receiver with two catches for 54 yards.
But, no matter how important of a win it was for the Royals, Helbert knows there is some unfinished business.
“You can never get complacent,” Helbert said. “We have to continue to come to practice with the mindset to get better. We know Upper Sandusky in a very good football team and we need to focus on one at a time and Upper will present a challenge and our kids need to be up for that challenge.”
The Royals improve to 6-1 and 5-0 in the Northern 10 Conference. They will host Upper Sandusky in Week 8.
The Tigers took a hit to their N10 hopes and dropped to 5-2 and 4-2 in the conference. They will be looking to rebound at nonconference opponent Lakota next week.