NEW PARIS — National Trail used a ground and pound approach to earn its second win of the season.
The Blazers had three running backs rush for 100 or more yards to rally from a third quarter deficit to beat Dixie 38-20 in a Western Ohio Athletic Conference football game on Friday, Sept. 18 at Trail.
The trio of Cayden Clark (14 carries, 177 yards), Chase Ruebush (15 carries, 118 yards) and Drew DeWitt (13 carries, 100 yards) led a rushing attack that went over 400 yards on the night.
“I’m pretty happy about winning. I wasn’t real happy the way we started out, seems like we came out we weren’t really ready to play and we made a couple mistakes,” Trail coach Mark Hoffman said. “It’s uncharacteristic of us to really fumble the ball. We had three fumbles. We had an interception. Right there at the beginning in the first half we weren’t concentrating. We weren’t ready to go.”
After the Blazers fumbled the ball deep in their own territory on their second offensive play of the game, Dixie opened the scoring with an early score for a 7-0 lead.
Trail came back with a sustained drive that took five minutes off the clock and resulted in a Clark three-yard touchdown run to make it 7-7 with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Dixie regained the lead with 9:46 to play, only to see the Blazers tie it at 14-14 on a Ruebush three-yard touchdown run with 5:59 left.
DeWitt added a 29-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to give National Trail a 17-14 lead at the half.
Early in the third quarter, Dixie took the lead again with 10:01 to play in the third after another Blazer turnover. A missed point after try left the score at 20-17.
That proved to be the final points of the night for the Greyhounds.
Hoffman said he felt his team realized there was a chance of the losing the game up until that point.
“I think we just realized that we could lose the ballgame. I mean we were in danger of losing that ballgame,” he said.
After a couple of empty possessions for both teams, Trail got the ball back on a Joey Roberts interception and capitalized with a one-yard touchdown run by Burgan Hoffman making the score 24-20 with 5:47 to play in the third, and then the fourth quarter was all Trail.
The defense dominated Dixie the remainder of the game as the offense continued to wear the Greyhound players down.
Touchdowns from Ruebush and DeWitt rounded out the scoring.
Ruebush scored on a four-yard run with 11:25 to play in the game for a 31-20 Blazer lead. DeWitt capped off 12-play drive that took seven and a half minutes off the clock, with a one-yard run.
The defense was lead in tackles by Colby Richardson, Phoenix Lewis and Jon McLane. Roberts and Clark had interceptions. On offense the Blazers got their ground game going with Clark, Ruebush and DeWitt all rushing for over 100 yards. DeWitt continued to be perfect on the season with five extra points in addition to his first field goal of the season.
“You get Ruebush back there and he’s a shifty little rascal, and then you get Clark back there and they’re a good combination together. They’re not real, real big,” Hoffman said. “But you know, you give them the ball and hard to tackle. They’re different kinds of runners, and then we put DeWitt in there, you know, he’s 270 pounds and we just run over people.”
The Blazers are scheduled to travel to Arcanum (5-0, 4-0 WOAC) for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday, Sept. 24.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr