The Indians amassed 217 yards on the ground en route to their fifth win in six tries.
By SAL MARINO
NEWTON FALLS -- The high-flying Girard High football team's offense showed they also can do some damage on the ground.
Girard running back Jon Hepfner ran for 174 yards on 36 carries and scored three touchdowns at the Indians beat Newton Falls 34-12 Friday in a Trumbull Athletic Conference game at Tiger Stadium.
"Our offense played well tonight," Girard coach Bud McSuley said. "We took what they gave us and made use of it."
Early scores: After Adam Grdinich scored from 1-yard out to put Girard up 7-0, the Tigers blocked a Girard punt and recovered on the Indians' 1-yard line.
But Newton Falls fumbled on second down and the Indians recovered on their own 1. Quarterback Randy Mason then drove Girard 99 yards and Hepfner scored from 6 yards out to make it 14-0.
"That [fumble] was the turning point of the game," McSuley said. "We stopped their momentum."
Girard (5-1, 3-0) dominated offensively, outgaining Newton Falls 432-155, including a 217-71 edge on the ground. Mason completed 12-of-23 for 206 yards.
Later in the second period, Girard's Bill McCartney recovered a Tigers fumble and raced 30 yards to put the Indians up 21-0.
Insurance: In the fourth quarter, Hepfner scored his second touchdown, from 15-yards out, to make it 28-0.
Newton Falls recovered a Walter Jones fumble in the third Three plays later, quarterback Tom Nemet hit Eric Lance for a 45-yard touchdown but the extra point failed.
Falls then tried an onside kick that Girard recovered, and the Indians went 49 yards in seven plays, capped by Hepfner's third touchdown, a 19-yard run to make it 34-6.
The Tigers' Matt Gillespie returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to end the scoring.
Nemet led Falls (3-3, 1-2) with 28 yards on seven carries and hit 3-of-17 passes for 84 yards.
Newton Falls' leading rushers Marty Hutchinson and Jason Spalinger were injured. "We lost Hutchinson and Spalinger, which hurt," Tigers coach Marc Bjelac said. "The fumble on the 1 also hurt us.
"Girard is an aggressive team and they played well. Once we gave up a couple of plays, we couldn't do much. We had poor possessions all night."
Champion 24, Brookfield 0: BROOKFIELD -- Junior flanker Mike Wortman scored once by run and once by pass for the Golden Flashes (3-3, 1-2).
Max King scored via pass and junior Mark Hofmeister scored six points with his foot for Champion.
Brian Smith completed 14 of 24 aerials for 206 of Champion's 387 total yards. The junior quarterback has thrown for 1,155 yards so far with only four interceptions.
King's TD came first when the senior tight end snagged a 14-yarder from Smith with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Wortman's pass of 32 yards came with 7:11 to go in the second quarter and Hofmeister's 47-yard field goal with 2:25 remaining before halftime put the Golden Flashes up, 17-0.
Wortman's second touchdown was a 13-yard run in the fourth period.
Wortman also had a fumble recovery as a linebacker to set up one of his TDs.
Of Champion's 181 rushing yards, senior tailback Adam Wargo gained 99 yards on 13 carries.
Champion had two interceptions: one by defensive back K.C. Fox and the other by linebacker Bryant Wilson.
Liberty 46, LaBrae 8: LIBERTY -- Jaris Williams ran 16 times for 106 yards and three touchdowns.
Williams also caught an 11-yard TD aerial for a fourth score.
A 20-point second quarter allowed the Leopards (3-3, 2-1) to establish a 28-0 lead at the break.
Ed Hunter and Lawrence Clinkscale scored touchdowns of 3 and 42 yards, respectively, for the Leopards in the third quarter.
Jay Poling ran for a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Vikings (1-5, 0-3).
The final Liberty TD came when Jason Perlman brought an interception back 75 yards.