Wasting almost no time to show off his second-year quarterback in Seth Hurd, the Vermilion defense took the ball away from the Phoenix on its second play of the game to set the offense up in Oberlin territory. Three plays later, the Sailors were ringing the bell as Hurd found Jonah Pfeil from 33 yards out to put the Sailors up 7-0.
Celebrating the release of Madden 18, Hurd put up video game numbers against the Oberlin defense, throwing for 157 yards and a score and running for 89 and a touchdown.
“I think our offense is really starting to click this season with run and pass, so we can throw it in the air for one or run it up the gut and our line was moving them back like it was nothing today. They did an awesome job,” Hurd said. “It’s amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of those guys, they worked their (butts) off the whole entire night.”
running back Caine Zannoni celebrated a three-touchdown night thanks to the big uglies upfront. Zannoni piled up 133 yards on 18 carries.
“The offensive line was amazing tonight,” Zannoni said. “They showed that they are in shape. We could have went down to the last second and they would still be pushing us to put points on the board and that’s what made the difference tonight.”
Celebrating the night with an ice bath for coach Kobal on a chilly night, the team helped christen Kobal’s career in a positive way as his team churned out several long drives.
“We worked the kids hard this week and told them there’s going to be mistakes and we’ve gotta take advantage of their mistakes,” Kobal said. “The more we can be a balanced offense, the better off we’re going to be where the defense stacks the box and stop Zannoni or we can get our wide receivers wide open.”
Complimenting his big guys up front, Kobal said he worked his guys to go out and make a difference all week in practice.
“I challenged those guys all week,” Kobal said. “Our scrimmage against Willard, they struggled a lot and we challenged them and practiced really hard this week to get them better and it showed tonight.”
As for the youthful Phoenix, this game could have been much closer if not for a few key drops by receivers.
On a crucial 12-play drive in the second quarter, quarterback Devan Yarber did his job to find two open targets inside the Sailors 20. But a drop in the end zone on second down and another on fourth and 9 ended a big scoring threat that could have flipped the balance of this game.
“We’re young. We have six seniors and a couple of them have played since eighth grade. We just had to get this one out of the way,” Oberlin head coach Mike Akers said. “We played a good football team, they brought back a lot of kids that are good solid (players) and we knew that going in when they handled Willard. We’re Division VI, they’re