Mars bars the door on Trinity
11/7/2009 3:31 AM
MARS - In football playoff games, the team that makes the least mistakes usually wins the game. The WPIAL Class AAA first-round playoff matchup Friday between Trinity andMars was an exception to that rule.
Mars survived four turnovers - all fumbles - but managed to grind out a 17-0 victory.
In a game where big plays were few and far between, the Planets (7-3) played a game of field position and used their Wing-T offense effectively enough to hold the ball for nearly 30 minutes. Mars had more than 300 yards total offense and 21 first downs.
"That's our game," said Mars head coach Scott Heinauer. "We want to control the ball and keep moving the chains. That was as sloppy a game offensively that we played all season, but we were able to make adjustments and make plays when we needed."
Mars sustained two long touchdown drives. The Planets' first score came on a seven-minute, 16-play drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Seth Geyer on the final play of the first half. The Planets added another score on a one-yard run by Ben Bair in the fourth quarter.
"The touchdown at the end of the half killed us," said Trinity head coach Ed Dalton. "Their Wing-T presented a challenge, but we held up pretty well defensively. We just had a hard time stopping the sweep."
Despite all of the turnovers, the Hillers struggled to move the ball consistently against the Planets defense, netting only seven first downs - several coming late in the fourth quarter after the game was out of reach.
"We forced some turnovers, but we were backed up the entire game," said Dalton. "We didn't have good field position and didn't make many plays."
With the offense struggling to take care of the ball, Heinauer was content putting the game on the Planets' defense.
'We have a good defense," said Heinauer. "We wanted to pin them deep and get them in second- and third-and-long situations and force them to make plays throwing the ball and we did a good job of doing that."
The Planets weren't the only team making mistakes. Hillers quarterback Andrew Steratore threw two interceptions and Trinity (4-6) committed many pre-snap penalties, including jumping offside on a Mars punt, which gave the Planets a first down.
"It wasn't our best performance," said Dalton. "We made some mental mistakes, we threw some interceptions and we didn't execute as well as we could have. As a result, I probably got a little too conservative as well."
With the loss, the Hillers' season and three-game winning streak came to ends.
"I was proud of the guys for not quitting," said Dalton. "Our back was against the wall for the last four weeks and we never threw in the towel. We at least fought the whole time."
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