Saline took another step toward an SEC Red football championship and playoff berth Saturday night, with a 50-7 defeat of host Skyline.
The Hornets improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. Saline visits Monroe next week with a chance to clinch at least a tie for the SEC championship.
Cole Daniels completed 7-of-9 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown and Brendan Munday rushed nine times for 79 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Saline attack. Hayden Scott also ran 10 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Cody McCullough ran for a touchdown. Andrew Diuble caught two passes for 40 yards and one touchdown. Emmett Turner caught three passes for 49 yards.
Saline gained 427 yards – 145 in the air and 272 on the ground. Skyline managed to pick up 256 yards against Saline – but except for one third quarter drive, the Hornets kept them out of the end zone.
CJ Gildersleeve led the team with seven tackles – including one for a loss. Alex Morrison had 4.5 tackles. Cam Richardson and Brad Wisniewski each had 3.5 tackles. Daniel Weidmayer had 2.5 tackles, including 1.5 sacks. Kingsley Amadi and Grant Armstrong also had tackles for a loss.
With his team running roughshod over its SEC opponents, Palka doesn’t use the games as measuring sticks these days.
“I thought we moved the ball well. On defense we gave up a couple long passes and one long run, but we played tough. But really, I measure this team in practice. And we had a great week of practice,” Palka said.
Saline’s starting quarterback, Daniels, and featured running back, Munday, continue to progress as the regular season passes the midway point
“I challenged Brendan Munday to make more guys miss and to do more to finish. He’s responded to that. He had a great night,” Palka said.
Daniels didn’t attempt many passes, but most were right on the money.
“He’s just putting a better touch on the ball. He’s feeling more and more comfortable,” Palka said.
They benefited from a strong showing by a highly respected offensive line.
“Our offensive line was fantastic tonight. Skyline blitzed almost every play and we picked up it up every time,” Palka said.
Skyline began the game with possession and had some success moving the ball as QB Darryn Davis completed a long pass to move the ball to midfield. They got as far as the Saline 40 when the Hornet defense pushed back. Gildersleeve dropped slipper RB Myles Miller for a two-yard loss. Skyline line up to punt and after a bad snap, the punter shanked it. Saline took over at its 36.
On the first play of the game, MJ Griffin ran a sweep for 29 yards. It was his only rush of the game. Two plays later, Daniels ran 10 yards for a first down. Munday followed with a 12-yard rush. After Munday had a touchdown called back for holding, Daniels rushed for 10-yards and then Munday ran in for six points from the four-yard line.
Saline led 7-0 after Vinnie Patteri’s kick.
Patteri’s kick off went into the end zone for another touchback. Miller gained 15 yards on first down. Miller and Davis each rushed a couple of times to move the ball over mid-field. Skyline gained a first down at the Saline 42 when, again, the Hornet defense pushed back.
Again, it was Gildersleeve making the initial stop, taking down Miller after a one-yard gain. Three successive passes went incomplete and Saline took over at its 41.
Diuble started things with a six-yard rush. Daniels followed with an 18-yard run. After a four-yard gain by Munday, Daniels passed to Brendan Murphy for a 27-yard pick up, down to the Skyline four. From there, Munday rushed in.
After Patteri’s kick, Saline led 14-0.
Patteri’s kickoff again went into the end-zone – keeping the ball out of the hands of Skyline’s slippery athletes.
This time, the Hornet defense gave up nothing. On 3rd-and-6, Brad Wisniekwsi and Danny Weidmayer brought down Davis for a six yard loss. The punt was blocked and Saline took over at the Skyline 26.
On first down, Daniels passed to his left to Diuble, who was wide open. He ran into the end zone untouched. The kick was no good.
Saline led 20-0 early in the second quarter.
Skyline’s next possession began at its 35. Weidmayer and Armstrong made tackles on first and second down.
On third down, Weidmayer sacked Davis for an eight yard loss. Skyline’s troubles multiplied when they took a delay of game penalty. When they finally lined up to punt again, the snap went over the punter’s head and through the end zone. Saline added two more points on the safety and led 22-0.
Griffin returned the kickoff 27 yards and another 10 yards were added for holding. Saline started at its 47. On first down, Daniels passed to Diuble for 14 yards. Hayden Scott followed with a nine-yard rush. Daniels passed to Griffin for eight yards and a first down. Scott rushed 14 more yards. Skyline was tagged for 15 more yards for targeting the helmet.
Saline moved to the four-yard-line, where Scott rushed in for his first of the game. Patteri’s kick made it 29-0.
The second half began with Saline taking over at its 32. Daniels threw to Emmett Turner along the Skyline sideline.
Turner, running full out, dove to make the catch for a 37-yard pickup – one of the prettiest passing plays for Saline this season.
On the next play, Brendan Munday took the hand-off and ran up the middle before bouncing to the outside for a 31-yard touchdown. Saline led 36-0.
Skyline finally made one of its drives count. The Eagles went 80 yards in a little less than six minutes. Davis connected with Davion Pimpkins for a 19-yard touchdown. Saline led 36-7 – momentarily stopping the running clock.
Saline’s next drive started at its nine after the Hornets were penalized on their next possession.
Hayden Scott rushed for 16 yards on first down. Saline got another first down on a 15-yard carry by Diuble.
Munday and Scott tacked on a couple more long-runs to keep the Hornets moving. Scott ran in from one-yard out. Turner’s kick made it 43-7.
Andrew Arbaugh entered for Saline’s final offensive series, which began at the Eagles 43. He passed to Logan Evans for a first down at the Skyline 25. Rushes by J. Drew McGovern and Cody McCullough gave Saline a first down at the Skyline 18.
Arbaugh passed for another first down before McCullough scored on a 10-yard sweep. Saline led 50-7 after Turner’s kick.
Mancino’s Pizza 3 Stars
Cole Daniels – Had a quiet, efficient game. Passed well. Ran for a couple first downs. Avoided sacks.
- Daniel Weidmayer – One of the reasons why the defensive line has beat all expectations is the play of Weidmayer. Had one sack – setting up the safety. And helped Brad Wisniewski on another sack.
- Dimitri Douglas – The Michigan State-bound offensive lineman and the rest of the OL had a great game, protecting Daniels and opening holes for Munday and Scott.