Somerset pancakes Central in playoff opener
Pancake is a football term where one player barrels over an opponent, knocking them flat as a pancake.
The Somerset football team collected a team pancake by pounding St. Croix Central 43-0 in the opening round of WIAA Division 4 tournament action last Tuesday.
Both teams ended the game with 7-3 records. It was Somerset's seventh consecutive win. The loss stopped Central's five-game winning streak.
The difference in the game early on was the two teams' ability to finish drives. Twice in the first quarter, Central drove inside the Somerset 25-yard line. Somerset then stopped Central's progress both times.
The Panther defense was never able to find a way to impede Somerset's progress. Each of Somerset's first five possessions in the game ended in rushing touchdowns. By halftime the Spartans had rolled up a 36-0 advantage.
"The speed and strength of Somerset just overwhelmed us," said Central coach Tony DiSalvo.
Somerset mixed its halfbacks into the ball-carrying equation more in this game than in any other this season. The results were exactly what the Spartans were hoping to see. Halfbacks Mick Collins and Zach Warren combined for five touchdowns in the game. Collins carried the ball six times and rushed for 134 yards and three scores. One of his scores was on a 70-yard burst where he blew through the hole and ran away from any potential tacklers.
Warren showed some impressive toughness on both of his touchdown runs. He carried the ball five times for 75 yards. Warren's 28-yard score just before halftime was spectacular, as he bounced off several tacklers and spun away from another.
Sophomore fullback Eric Walczak again led the Spartans in rushing, with 165 yards on 18 carries.
Central was a young team this year. DiSalvo said that if the team works hard, there are better days ahead for the Panthers.
"Nobody gave our kids a chance this season and we won seven games. We just need to get bigger, faster and stronger than we are," DiSalvo said in assessing the team's needs for the future.
DiSalvo and the Panther coaches held meetings with the returning players. The consensus among the Panthers was the loss to Somerset showed the team that it has to be a more physical team if it wants to advance further in future seasons.