Saline bounced back from an opening day loss to defeat Mumford, 33-0, Friday at Hornet Stadium.
Brendan Munday rushed 12 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Hornets. Cole Daniels completed 13 of 22 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown (one interception). He also rushed six times for 23 yards and a touchdown. Daniels’ touchdown pass was to Emmett Turner (four catches, 36 yards, one touchdown).
Saline piled up 407 yards of offense – nearly twice as much as it did against Rockford. The defense limited Mumford to just 136 yards – about half as much as Rockford tallied.
Saline head coach Joe Palka said he saw a lot of great progress this week.
“We always talk about measuring ourselves against our own expectations. I thought we did a better job today,” Palka said. “We finished drives offensively. We had a long drive that resulted in points. Our run game improved today. Cole's efficiency improved today.”
And defensively, the team was stout.
“Our defensive line continues to show that, as long as it keeps improving, it can be pretty good. We knew our linebackers would be strong. They continue to play well. We run pretty well at the second level. That negated some of their speed. Some years in the past we might have had some trouble with speed,” Palka said. “I like the resolve the defense has right now. Maybe they're hungry and they have a willingness to want to get better.”
Saline’s opening drive began at its own 40. After a couple of short gains, Daniels passed to Turner for 13 yards for a first down in Mumford territory. Two plays later, Munday broke a nine-yard run for another first down. On 2nd-and-5 from the Mumford 24, Munday ran around the outside and scored.
It was the kind of big running play Saline couldn’t find against Rockford. A two-point conversion failed.
It took a little more than a minute off the clock to get the ball back. Brad Wisniewski forced a fumble and Daniel Wiedmayer picked it up. Saline had the ball at the Mumford 38.
On first down, Munday rushed for 23 yards. He picked up another seven yards on the ground and then Daniels rushed in from eight yards. After JT Turner’s kick, Saline led 13-0.
Mumford’s next possession began at its 20. MJ Griffin helped break up a first down passing attempt and then he stopped Mumford’s talented RB Cerell Lewis on second down. Wisniewski sacked Mumford’s QB on third and long. Mumford punted from its 10.
Saline took advantage of great field position again. Starting at the Mumford 45, Daniels went to work with two short passes to Jack Loveland. He rushed two yards for a first. Then he passed again to Loveland for seven yards. On the next play, Munday rushed 21 yards to the Mumford six. Then ran in for a six yard touchdown. Turner made the kick through the uprights and Saline led 20-0 with 3:33 to play in the quarter.
Saline’s defense forced a three-and-out on Mumford’s next possession, which started at midfield after a great return by Devon Lucas. Gildersleeve made one stop and Connor Terech made two. The Mustangs punted and Saline started its next drive at the Saline 22 with a few seconds left in the quarter. A Munday run and pass to Vinnie Patteri gave Saline a first down before the quarter ended. Daniels passed to Turner for a 10-yard gain. After a four-yard keeper he threw to Turner again for a first down. The drive stalled but on 4th-and-5 Daniels passed to Loveland for an eight-yard pickup. Hayden Scott ran for 10 yards to move to the Mumford 21. Then he ran again for 15 yards to Mumford six. On the next play Daniels found Turner along the Mumford sideline.
Turner made the catch and dove into the end zone. After JT Turner’s kick, Saline led 27-7.
Mumford’s next drive started at its 15 after Cam Richardson made the stop on the kickoff return. The Mustangs moved the ball into Saline territory but were stopped there on two tackles by Weidmayer (one for a loss) and a tackle for a loss by Collick. The Mustangs punted from the 50.
Saline took over at its 40. On 3rd-and-5, Daniels hit Diuble over the middle for a 42-yard pickup – the longest gain of the year through the air for the Hornets.
Scott rushed for three yards and then Daniels rushed for four yards and two yards, setting up a 4th-and-1.
Munday got the yard and three more for the touchdown. Saline led 33-0 with 1:25 to play in the half.
That was it for the scoring. But Tom Raupp picked off a pass to give Saline another chance.
In the second half the Mustangs twice sent drives into the Saline red zone.
On 2nd-and-10 from the Saline 13, Connor Payne stopped Lewis for a three-yard loss. A fourth-down pass attempt was incomplete. In the fourth, the Mustangs pressed as deep as the Saline five. On 2nd-and-goal from the five, Max Fair stopped Lewis for a one yard loss. The Hornets then thwarted to passing attempts to keep the Mustangs out of the end zone.
Saline now focuses its attention on Bedford. The Kicking Mules are 2-0 and host the Hornets next week. Palka watched Bedford in week one.
“I was real impressed with Bedford. They look fast this year. They've got a first-year starter at quarterback who's a quick kid and good player. Toledo St. Johns was very big on the lines,” Palka said. “It's going to be a challenge, going down there.”
The Hornets know that an SEC championship probably requires a win at Bedford – and that’s not an easy thing for a team that’s learning on the go.
“The trick here is, we know we're going to get better through the course of the year. I want to get better fast - to win that Bedford game and keep getting better,” Palka said. “You don’t want to lose that game, and then, yeah, we get better, but never have another shot at winning the SEC. So our kids know what’s at stake.”
Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders 3 Stars
- Brendan Munday – Nobody symbolized the Hornet rebound like Munday, who rushed 12 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
- Brad Wisniewski – The defensive line is getting things done. Wisniewski was credited with two tackles, an assist and a sack.
- Daniel Weidmayer - Another defensive lineman who had a big day. Weidmayer had a couple tackles, including one for a loss, and recovered a fumble.