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Scotus Football 9.7

A host of Scotus tacklers, including, left to right, Jordan Skipton, Evan Bock, Seth VunCannon and Alex Novicki team up for a stop in Friday's win over Central City. The Shamrocks gave up 21 points but played well on defense for the second straight week.

The return of several weapons had Scotus Central Catholic players and coaches excited about the offensive possibilities of 2019.

With Tyler Palmer moving under center and touching the ball on every play, game-breaking potential seemed possible on every snap. With Eric MustarThe return of several weapons had Scotus Central Catholic players and coaches excited about the offensive possibilities of 2019.

With Tyler Palmer moving under center and touching the ball on every play, game-breaking potential seemed possible on every snap. With Eric Mustard back in the backfield, the Shamrocks had a second proven runner that could produce a thunder and lightning sort of attack.

On the edges, Dalton Borchers and Garrett Oakley are experienced options in the passing game who have the size to go up and get catches over most defensive backs. Up front, several players returned with a season or two under their belts.

That much firepower earned Scotus a No. 10 ranking in the Class C-1 Lincoln Journal Star preseason ratings.

The question was, would the Shamrocks be able to stop anyone?

Through two weeks at least, that question has mostly had an answer in the affirmative.

SCC only allowed points to Aquinas when the offense turned it over twice, one on a pick-six, and when the special teams allowed a partial punt block.

In Week 2, Central City piled up 423 yards of offense, but it took 76 plays and a mostly one-man effort from quarterback Michael Rutherford to make the Bison effective.

When it mattered most, early in the game and twice inside the 10-yard line, the Shamrocks came up with stops.

The offense will likely always have a chance to be successful with Palmer's dynamic abilities, but it could be on the other side of the ball where chances for a district title and playoff hopes could be realized.

"We play a bend but don't break defense. We really played that way tonight," Mustard said after Friday's 41-27 win. "They had some plays, they scored some points, we knew they were going to do that. When it came down to crunch time, we made plays and got stops."

The first two weeks have been an interesting challenge for Scotus to face in back-to-back games. Week 1 required an assignment-based, disciplined approach to holding down David City Aquinas' deceptive offense.

The Shamrocks did exactly that, holding the Monarchs to 208 total yards on 52 plays, 144 on the ground and just 64 through the air. Aquinas' lead back managed 68 yards on 14 attempts, better than 4 yards per carry, but overall the Monarchs were held to 3.5 per attempt.

In Week 2, Scotus battled a mostly one-man offense that, by design, normally sent four or five receivers out wide to giver the quarterback a look at five-on-five in front of him. With that alignment, he became the one extra player the defense couldn't account for.

Still, while he had 156 yards, it took Rutherford 30 carries to get there. He also had eight of those carries for two yards or less.

Central City also became somewhat predictable when the rest of the backfield had just eight carries.

And as much as Palmer can inspire emotion when he breaks off a big run, there's nothing quite like 11 guys making a stand on a big fourth down and getting the ball back in his hands.

"When it's a tight ball game, every one of those mattes," coach Tyler Linder said. "Those turnover-on-downs are real important to establish field position and generate momentum."

Future opponents will offer their own brand of offense, but through two games at least, Scotus has been able to adapt.

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"I've always had faith in our defense. Our mantra is bend but don't break," Mustard said. "In a game like (Friday) when they put up some points, we expect that. But when we get stops that's when our defense shines. So far this year, our defense has stepped up."d back in the backfield, the Shamrocks had a second proven runner that could produce a thunder-and-lightning sort of attack.

On the edges, Dalton Borchers and Garrett Oakley are experienced options in the passing game who have the size to go up and get catches over most defensive backs. Upfront, several players returned with a season or two under their belts.

That much firepower earned Scotus a No. 10 ranking in the Class C-1 Lincoln Journal Star preseason ratings.

The question was, would the Shamrocks be able to stop anyone?

Through two weeks at least, that question has mostly had an answer in the affirmative.

SCC only allowed points to Aquinas when the offense turned it over twice, one on a pick-six, and when the special teams allowed a partial punt block.

In Week 2, Central City piled up 423 yards of offense, but it took 76 plays and a mostly one-man effort from quarterback Michael Rutherford to make the Bison effective.

When it mattered most, early in the game and twice inside the 10-yard line, the Shamrocks came up with stops.

The offense will likely always have a chance to be successful with Palmer's dynamic abilities, but it could be on the other side of the ball where chances for a district title and playoff hopes could be realized.

"We play a bend but don't break defense. We really played that way tonight," Mustard said after Friday's 41-27 win. "They had some plays, they scored some points, we knew they were going to do that. When it came down to crunch time, we made plays and got stops."

The first two weeks have been an interesting challenge for Scotus to face in back-to-back games. Week 1 required an assignment-based, disciplined approach to holding down David City Aquinas' deceptive offense.

The Shamrocks did exactly that, holding the Monarchs to 208 total yards on 52 plays, 144 on the ground and just 64 through the air. Aquinas' lead back managed 68 yards on 14 attempts, better than 4 yards per carry, but overall the Monarchs were held to 3.5 per attempt.

In Week 2, Scotus battled a mostly one-man offense that, by design, normally sent four or five receivers out wide to give the quarterback a look at five-on-five in front of him. With that alignment, he became the one extra player the defense couldn't account for.

Still, while he had 156 yards, it took Rutherford 30 carries to get there. He also had eight of those carries for two yards or less.

Central City also became somewhat predictable when the rest of the backfield had just eight carries.

And as much as Palmer can inspire emotion when he breaks off a big run, there's nothing quite like 11 guys making a stand on a big fourth down and getting the ball back in his hands.

"When it's a tight ball game, every one of those matters," coach Tyler Linder said. "Those turnover-on-downs are real important to establish field position and generate momentum."

Future opponents will offer their own brand of offense, but through two games at least, Scotus has been able to adapt.

"I've always had faith in our defense. Our mantra is bend but don't break," Mustard said. "In a game like (Friday) when they put up some points, we expect that. But when we get stops that's when our defense shines. So far this year, our defense has stepped up."

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com.

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