Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Senior QB runs wild for McLouth in first victory of season

October 3, 2007

The pressure was on Phillip Wnuck like it hadn't been all football season.

The McLouth High kicker had an extra point to win the football game for the Bulldogs. Luckily for McLouth, Wnuck calmly drilled the point after attempt to seal McLouth's 21-20 victory against Jackson Heights on Friday at the Stan Braksick Sports Complex. It was the Bulldogs first victory of the season.

"He's very accurate in practice," McLouth coach Harry Hester said of Wnuck. "He probably hits 99.5 percent of his extra points. There was no doubt that's what we were going to do."

Before the game-winning point from Wnuck, a foreign exchange student from Germany, MHS senior quarterback Mark Stewart tied the game at 20 on a two-yard touchdown run with about a minute to play.

"The play we called was an option read," Stewart said. "I could either give it to (senior running back) Ryan (Smith) or pull it. I read the defense and decided to pull it and run it in."

Stewart, who missed two games with an ankle injury, didn't show any ill effects against Jackson Heights. He ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns.

Stewart said he still wasn't at full strength and estimated he played at about 85 percent Friday. He said once he hit the gridiron, the injury didn't bother him.

In fact, the toughest part for Stewart has been conditioning. Hester has limited Stewart in practice the last three weeks and the senior quarterback hasn't conditioned nearly as much as when he was healthy. Stewart played on both sides of the ball Friday -- quarterback and free safety -- and said his conditioning should improve with each passing week.

McLouth ran the ball all over Jackson Heights on Friday. Smith turned in a workhorse performance, adding 94 yards on 20 carries. McLouth tallied 264 total rushing yards.

Smith was also a primary reason McLouth stopped Jackson Heights' rushing attack. The Cobras gained only 175 yards on the ground.

That was pleasant news for McLouth, which had early-season problems stopping the run. Troy ran for 463 rushing yards against McLouth in week one, while Wathena ran for 452 yards in week three.

McLouth has completely turned around its run defense. McLouth held Valley Falls to 106 yards rushing in week four. Jackson Heights only had 175 yards on the ground Friday.

McLouth will start a three-game road trip Friday at Pleasant Ridge, which carries an undefeated 5-0 record.

"We approach every road game like a business trip," Hester said. "We have the kids dress nice. (Pleasant Ridge is) going to have everything to lose. It's their homecoming. We're just a 1-4 team seeing what we can do."

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