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Hornets secure share of IVC North title
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By Carol McIntire
Senior Dylan Phillips’ interception on the second play of the game set the tone for a mismatch between the Malvern Hornets and Tuscarawas Central Catholic (TCC) Saints on Friday the 13th.
The Saints likely felt like Friday the 13th was their misfortune – punts taking bad bounces, passes going through the hands – was the Hornet’s fortune in a 63-0 defeat.
The win clinched at least a share of the Inter Valley Conference North title. A win over East Canton this Friday would give the Hornets the outright title.
“Obviously we want that outright title next week at East Canton, and I know this team wants that as well,” said Malvern Coach Mike Chiurco following the win.
Although East Canton leads the series 30-22-1, the Hornets won the past three years.
“Our seniors want to go out with their fourth straight win over East Canton,” he said.
Malvern scored every time the team had possession of the ball, starting with a seven-yard touchdown by junior Drake Hutchison two plays after Phillips’s interception.
Ryan Runyon’s extra point kick was low and the hosts led 6-0. Runyan also kicked a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Sophomore wide receiver Josh Untch scored the first touchdown of his varsity career on the next possession when quarterback Jared Witherow found him open on a crossing pattern over the middle. Untch pulled the ball in and scampered the final 12 yards to the end zone.
Witherow connected with Phillips for a five-yard touchdown to give his team a 20-0 lead less than halfway through the first period.
A fourth-down snap flew over the head of TCC quarterback Flynn Renicker and out the back of the end zone for a safety and a 22-0 Malvern lead. Charles Motz returned the ensuing free kick 45 yards for a Hornet touchdown and a 29-0 lead.
Rodney Smith found the end zone on a 30-yard scoring strike from Witherow and Dante Passio ran the ball in for a three-yard score, all before halftime. The hosts enjoyed a 46-0 lead at intermission.
Malvern added a touchdown in the third quarter, -a 55-yard kick-off return by Smith – and a 32-yard field goal off the foot of Runyon to stretch the lead to 56-0 after three quarters.
Junior Tyler Cobb closed out the scoring with a two-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Witherow completed five of six passes for 92 yards, but it was the ground game that propelled the Hornets to the win. Sophonore Clayton Abel led the charge with 75 yards on five carries. Aiden Sprague added 45 yards on two carries, Drake Hutchison tallied 30 yards on three carries, Manny Walker 13 yards on four carries and Cobb two yards on his lone carry as the winners complied 172 yards on 17 carries.
Smith pulled in two Witherow passes for 51 yards, Phillips caught two for 29 and Untch one.
Defensively, Sprague led the effort with seven tackles and one fumble recovery. Jordin Detchon was credited with five tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack. Chance Miller contributed four tackles and two sacks and Kyle Bossert four tackles and a sack.
“Tonight was just a total team effort,” Chiurco said. “Every player contributed in some way and that is an awesome way to clinch an IVC title. I’m very happy for our seniors. It’s our third title in four years and they have been a major reason why. They have done a great job of buying into this program and they are the first class to ever win three IVC football titles at Malvern.”
Malvern closes out the regular season at East Canton Friday with the Hornet trophy on the line. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
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