By Scott Watson
Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (3-0) tallied another sound win Friday night against the West Fork Warhawks in a 59-0 shellacking. For the third-straight week, GHV, who is now rated number eight in Class 2A, has shutout its opponent, while also putting up big points in each showdown.
“I am very proud of how the players played in this game,” said GHV Head Coach Scott VanDusseldorp. “We continue to improve and are fixing our mistakes.”
The first play began with a self-destructive Warhawk drive that resulted in a three and out. The Cardinals marched the ball down the field and Logan Miller secured the first GHV touchdown. Braden Meints sent the PAT through the uprights.
Airtight defense led to another three and out from the Warhawks. A Shaw-Shawn reception was forged once again as Spencer Shaw completed a pass to Shawn Murphy, who found the endzone on a 49-yard reception. In the last three games, Shaw has thrown four passes, of which three have been caught by Murphy for touchdowns. Miller ran in the PAT to pick up two more for the Cardinals.
After a series of turnovers on downs, Nic Tusha brought in the next round of scoring on a three-yard rushing TD. Miller’s PAT was good.
Several possessions into the second quarter, the Cardinals again found the endzone with a Meints rushing touchdown and PAT.
On a long, grinding drive, GHV’s Shaw rushed for another six and Meints’ PAT was good.
With time expiring in the first half, Mark Wellik got the Cardinals one last touchdown and Meints’ PAT kick capped the second quarter, putting the halftime score at 46-0.
In a convincing display of dominance, the Cardinals opened the second half with a quick Tyler Buck touchdown. Meints’ PAT attempt was no good.
On the following kickoff, Wellik recovered a fumble, leading to a Miller touchdown and Meints’ PAT kick. The final score was 59-0.
Substitutions found the remainder of the game more evenly balanced, as junior varsity players began receiving some playing time.
“Our offensive line did a very nice job and our running backs played well, finding holes to run through,” said VanDusseldorp. “Defensively, we were able to play very fast. The team did a fantastic job.”
GHV had 364 total yards of offense compared to West Fork’s 58. The Cardinals tallied 315 of those yards on the ground, recording 167 of them in the second quarter alone.
Leading the Cardinals’ ground attack was Miller, with 157 yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts. Meints had 46 yards and a touchdown on four attempts. Tusha recorded 39 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts, while Buck had 27 yards and a touchdown on three attempts. Shaw and Wellik both had 22 yards and a touchdown on five carries apiece.
Spencer Halloran was West Fork’s leading rusher with 11 yards on 14 attempts.
On two passing attempts, Shaw had one interception and a 49-yard completion for a touchdown to Murphy.
Colton Knutson lead the Cardinal defense, tallying four tackles. Devora Allan was close behind with three tackles and one and-one-half sacks. Meints also had three tackles, while Tusha and Logan Ryerson each contributed two and-one-half tackles.
Forcing West Fork turnovers was Tusha with an interception, Wellik with two fumble recoveries and Knutson with one fumble recovery.
“This week we will be finding out a lot about ourselves when we play Spirit Lake. The defending state champs will be coming to us and we will have to play a very solid, mistake-free football game,” said VanDusseldorp.
GHV plays Spirit Lake at Garner this Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.