By Greg Gulas
There’s a reason records mean nothing during rivalry week.
The only motivation necessary is the rivalry itself.
David Stewart rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns while Gary Muntean passed for 135 yards and a touchdown, as Struthers upset host Campbell Memorial, 22-3, on Friday at John Knapick Field.
“This was our playoff game and all week long we approached it from that angle,” said Struthers coach Mark Asher.
“We said that we were playing for our community and the many former players that played in this great game or did not get the opportunity to play in this rivalry game. It wasn’t for ourselves,” added Asher.
“Field position was a key all night but keeping our composure was just as important. I am so proud of this team because we were fundamentally sound in all areas.
The Red Devils (7-3) got on the board first when placekicker Alex Sudacov nailed a 35-yard field from the right hash mark for a 3-0 advantage midway through the opening session.
With 30 seconds remaining before intermission, Stewart scored the first of his two tallies, coming from a yard out and he added the conversion run to give the Wildcats (5-5) an 8-3 lead at halftime.
“We knew what we had to do but all week long our coaches preached to not to lose our heads,” said Stewart. “We just felt that if we came out, pounded the ball and just played old-time Struthers football, then we would have a fighting chance in the end.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Muntean found Vince Fantozzi from 2 yards out at the 6:51 mark of the final frame. Muntean then hit Dylan Duchek with the conversion pass to make it 16-3.
“This senior class is an absolutely amazing class. My offensive line gave me plenty of protection all night long and that was also key,” said Muntean. “To beat them on their turf is just an awesome feeling.”
Stewart’s second touchdown, from 6 yards away with 2:54 remaining, put the game away for the Wildcats.
“I’m disappointed but give Struthers credit. They had an excellent game plan, came to play and took advantage of our mistakes,” Red Devils coach Mickey Sikora said.
Both teams ended up with 78 yards rushing but the tale of the tape was the Wildcats holding a 135-63 advantage through the air.
Combined, the two teams were averaging over 550 yards offensively. But on Friday they combined for only 338 yards.
Campbell also was penalized 17 times for 178 yards.