Smithville blows past St. Joe Leblond
By Andy Meyer The Smithville Hearald
Practically from the first snap, Smithville put the pedal to the metal and didn’t slow down until it was firmly in control.
The Warriors scored on all seven of their first-half drives on the way to a 47-14 victory Friday against Bishop LeBlond and maintained their unblemished Midland Empire Conference record in the process.
Senior running back Charlie Nihart ran more than 200 yards for the fourth game in a row, as Smithville racked up more than 500 yards of total offense in the team’s most productive game of the season.
“It was all about execution, and we had some outstanding individual plays,” Smithville coach Greg Smith said. “Offensively, we felt like we were clicking on all cylinders early in the game, and that was because they came out focused.”
The Warriors (5-1, 4-0 MEC) have won four games in a row and will face Maryville next week in a contest that could decide the league title. But first, they had to get past a LeBlond squad with an identical win-loss record.
Smithville set the tone early, as Tanner Hartman hauled in a pass from Mitch Orr and raced 38 yards to paydirt less than two minutes into the game. Nihart scored two of his three touchdowns on the two drives that followed, allowing the Warriors to build momentum with each passing possession and stake themselves to a 20-0 lead.
“They came out on fire. Their first few possessions, they came down and scored,” LeBlond coach Dudik said. “I felt like we could come down here and play with them, but obviously, they came out and executed extremely well.”
Needing a spark to ignite a comeback effort, senior Cort Patrick provided a highlight-reed play for the Golden Eagles (4-2, 2-2 MEC).
Patrick fielded a kickoff at his own 1-yard line, zig-zagged through a multitude of players and broke multiple tackles on the way to his second kickoff return touchdown this year.
“We absolutely needed to find a spark somewhere, and that was awesome,” Dudik said. “We just needed that.”
But LeBlond struggled to generate any momentum after that and wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter on Alex Pyatt’s late touchdown run that provided the final margin.
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