ELLERY – Maple Grove Red Dragons Football Coach Justin Hanft could’ve taken all of the credit after his team trounced Springville 51-8 at home Friday evening.
After all, Hanft secured his first win as coach since replacing longtime coach Curt Fischer, who’s now the head coach at Chautauqua Lake. Hanft, however, focused entirely on the accomplishments of his team when speaking with WNYNewsNow after the game.
“It was just an all-around great team win,” Hanft said. “All 11 kids came to play tonight.”
Hanft was especially excited to see contributions on special teams.
“We even had contributions from key special teams guys! We executed extremely well…now on to CSP (Clymer/Sherman/Panama).”
Hanft’s defense pitched a shutout until well into the fourth quarter, when they surrendered a touchdown and two-point conversion. Springville’s offense registered just 151 total offensive yards, 72 through the air and 79 on the ground, and their longest play from scrimmage was a 28-yard-run.
David Brown, Alex Duncanson, Jake Tomlinson and Trim Kyle each posted a sack for the Dragans defense.
Maple Grove’s offense, which tallied nearly 400 yards of total offense (391), scored 27 points within the first five minutes of action. Three touchdowns came on the ground, while a fourth was an INT return from Taige Jones, who also scored a rushing touchdown in the third quarter. His two scores more than made up for his lost fumble, Maple Grove’s only turnover.
Quarterback Carson Crist was a legitimate dual-threat, completing nine of 15 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, while amassing 77 yards and a 28-yard-TD on seven carries. His longest carry was 43 yards, so his other five carries only went for six yards.
However, Hanft should still be excited after seeing two monster runs from his quarterback.
Maple Grove also controlled the time of possession by nearly nine minutes (28:53-19:07).
There were a few miscues of Maple Grove’s that they can’t overlook despite the overall manhandling of Springville. Maple Grove committed seven penalties for 48 yards, which is just shy of seven yards per penalty. In short, most of their penalties came before the snap.
Pre-snap penalties are ones that can be corrected as the team continues to gain more experience playing together.
Zach Hendrick, who contributed over 100 total offensive yards, also added three touchdowns. Hendrick, however, missed four of his seven PATs. PATs aren’t necessarily a gimme at the high school level like they are in the NFL, but they’re still just as valuable.
The misses clearly didn’t affect the outcome of this game, but misses could be the difference between a win and loss at a later date. You can bet Hendrick whom, again, performed tremendously on offense, will put some extra time in this week with his kicking.
Maple Grove will play at home again next Friday, September 7th, against Clymer/Sherman/Panama.