By Eric Fortune
After back-to-back playoff seasons, the Youngstown Christian Eagles were looking for answers and it didn’t look like they would find them at Dave Pavlansky Field Saturday night with two first half turnovers and inconsistency on both sides of the ball.
Instead, an injury to an important member of their team might have gotten them kick-started as they rolled off 40 second half points to overcome a lackluster 6-0 opening half to defeat Grand Valley 40-28.
“It’s hard to say,” Youngstown Christian coach Brian Marrow said. “The kids love each other and I heard the guys talk to him before he left.
I’m pretty sure the guys wanted to play hard for him after losing one of our guys like that.”
If there was a theme for the Eagles, it was the big plays that the Mustangs just had no answer for; plays, they stopped on a fairly
consistent basis in the first half.
“I don’t think they did anything different in the second half,” Grand Valley coach John Glavickas said. “We were just able to stop the run
in the first half. Our kids were getting to the ball. Many times we had six hats on the ball. We gave them space and we paid for it.”
Those runs that weren’t happening for the Eagles became a reality time and time again as they had four plays of 70 yards or more to break
open a 6-6 ball game early in the third quarter.
The player who was instrumental in breaking the Mustangs’ backs and providing life to Youngstown Christian (1-3) was Darien Townsend, who hauled in two touchdown passes and put the exclamation point on the game when his 71 yard run down the sideline made the score 33-20 in favor of the Eagles.
“Darien Townsend, a couple of plays that he made shouldn’t have even worked, but he made it work,” Marrow said. “He’s an unbelievable player.”
Still, the Mustangs (0-4) hung around despite big play after big play, thanks in large part to their quarterback Jake Vormelker. His play got it tied back up at 20 all and has been the bright spot in a disappointing season for the Mustangs.
“We felt good,” Glavickas said. “We marched right down the field passing the ball and doing the little things and on the following drives we were no longer able to do that. We do ride Jake. We do ride that wave. Usually as Jake goes, we go. There is no guessing who our playmaker is. He does a great job for us.”