SHS Now 5-1
Slater Leads Blazers, 35-6
It is going to hand the ball to tailback Matt Slater and watch No. 5 do his thing.
Friday night at Fort Defiance, Slater did what he does best, carrying the ball 24 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns as the Trailblazers defeated the Indians 35-6.
Defenses know Slater is getting the ball – they just can’t stop it.
“We’re going to do what we do,” Spotswood coach Chris Dodson said. “When people start mixing up what they do, that’s when people struggle, if you try and put a whole new defense in a week. The thing with Matt is, it’s not like we’re just running one play. We have a great playbook of plays that get him the ball in different positions.”
The Indians (2-4) did a fair job containing Slater’s big-play ability, as the star tailback finished with only two carries of more than 10 yards. Running behind a massive offensive line, Slater and the Blazers (5-1) were content with a five-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust game plan.
“Our offensive line did amazing today,” Slater said, motioning to his two offensive linemen nearby. “Ben Winegard and Andrew Coffman over here on the left side, great stuff. The fullbacks really hit their backers hard, so there were some pretty big holes.”
After a 41-yard pass from Zach Polglase to receiver Khalil Davis on SHS’s second play of the game, Slater scored his first touchdown on a 3-yard run. His other TD runs came from 4 yards out.
With the Indians stacking the box to stop Slater, the Blazers loosed up the defense with the passing game all night. Polglase and Matt Weston rotated like they have all season, and finished a combined 10-of-13 for 120 yards.
“I thought our offensive coordinator [Chris Grefe] did a great job of mixing things up tonight,” Dodson said. “We threw the ball a lot, and so many times when we come off that fake to Matt [Slater], other teams have to respect it. Once you respect that, you step up and we get behind you. I thought hitting the big play loosened them up a bit and kept the secondary involved and kept seven in the box instead of eight.”
Slater, who has rushed for a district-best 1,053 yards to go along with 18 touchdowns, rarely takes hits during the week in practice. It’s all an effort, Dodson said, to keep the tailback injury-free and ready to go on Friday nights.
“This week, he is like the golden child,” Dodson said about Slater. “He watched a lot this week. He does our non-contact drills, but he doesn’t get a lot of contact in practice. We really are trying to minimize his hits in practice.”
Spotswood’s defense held the Indians to 160 yards, with the only Fort scoring play coming on a Caleb Simmons 9-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Fort quarterback Aaron Eppard finished 4-of-10 for 60 yards with two interceptions. The turnovers to go along with seven penalties hurt the Indians.
“Truthfully, we had too many unforced mistakes that led to good field position for them,” Fort coach Dan Rolfe said. “We were behind the chains way too much in this game. [SHS] wore us down.”
Spotswood 7 7 14 7 – 35
Fort Defiance 0 6 0 0 – 6
SHS- Slater 5 run (Dipaola kick)
FD- Simmons 9 catch (Kick blocked) 11:07
SHS- Slater 4 run (Dipaola kick) :10
SHS- Slater 4 run (Dipaola kick) 7:35
SHS- Ehle 2 run (Dipaola kick) 2:24
SHS- Hernandez 7 run (Dipaola kick) 6:50
First Downs 19 6
Rushes-Yards 42-230 29-100
Passing Yards 120 60
Total Yards 350 160
Comp-Att-Int 10-13-1 4-10-2
Fumbles-Lost 1 0
Punts 0-0 3-38
Penalties-Yards 3-30 7-35
RUSHING- Spotswood: Slater 24-157, Ehle 5-28, Wilson 2-25, Davis 2-20, Hernandez 3-6, Soard 2-4, Cekada 2-1, Polglase 1-(-11). Fort Defiance: Stickley 12-54, Eppard 7-39, Jones 3-4, Ruiz-Haynes 7-3.
PASSING- Spotswood: Polglase 4-7-85-1, Weston 6-6-35. Fort Defiance: Eppard 4-10-60-2.
RECEIVING- Spotswood: Davis 5-93, Blandon 1-17, Slater 4-15, Hernandez 1-8. Fort Defiance: Simmons 3-55, Stickley 1-5.