FRANCONIA >> After a slow start in the first half which saw Souderton only lead by 10 points, the Indians turned up the pressure on offense in a 21-0 third-quarter burst en route to a 38-0 win over Truman on Friday night.
This all while missing running back Shaun Purvy, one of the team’s most explosive ball carriers.
The offense started the game off as well as a team could, embarking on a six-play 51 yard drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown by Caleb Hageman. After that score it would be almost two quarters before the Indians scored another touchdown. However, the Tigers wouldn’t visit the end zone all game due to a stout Souderton defense that kept the Tigers out too rhythm all night.
“Thankfully the defense did what they did in the first half to give us the opportunity to wake up, ” said head coach Edward Gallagher.
The Indians domination on defense helped set up a last-second field goal as time expired after they forced a fumble with just over nine seconds remaining in the first half. Though the Indians led they weren’t happy with their first half performance, especially their offense which had struggled with penalties and failed to capitalize on Tiger mistakes. This was not a problem that would persist.
Souderton came out with an edge right from the opening kickoff of the second half. First, they held the Tigers to a quick three-and-out and forced a punt. Then their offense went to work; the Indians moved 70 yards in five plays while their sideline constantly reminded them to control the pace of the game.
Only seconds after they scored, they recovered a fumble from the Tigers. This time it would only take one play; a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Zimmerman to tight end Grayson Largent to put Souderton up 24-0 and they never looked back for the rest of the game.
To end their third-quarter barrage, Souderton relied on its running game which dominated all night led by fullback Chris Kerns and halfback Hageman. The Indians ran 42 times for 369 yards and four touchdowns. It was success by committee made especially impressive by Souderton not yet being at full strength in their running back room.
“I am really thrilled with the options we have in the backfield,” said Gallagher “Not having him (Shaun Purvy) and being able to come out with that backfield.”
Hageman had one of his best games of the season running for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Afterwards he credited his blockers for helping him get advantageous matchups at the second level.
“My line, my fullback and my other halfback really made it easy to read my holes, so I didn’t get touched to the second level and it’s easy to run that way,” said Hageman.
Hageman showed some mental toughness after a fumble in the red zone to end the second half he came out firing with the rest of the offense in the second half focusing one what still had to be done and not what had already.
“Next play is the most important play, that’s what coach is always saying,” said Hageman.
While their running backs showed resilience, their defense showed dominance. The Tigers made only one trip to the red zone in the entire game and struggled both through the air and the ground.
Souderton now stands at (4-1) through five weeks and so far, is undefeated in conference play. The Indians will visit Quakertown next week in the annual 309 Bowl. That game will take this place next Friday at 7 p.m. at Alumni Memorial Field.