By Chris Pugh
As expected, the Galion Tigers football team was able to easily dispatch the Columbus Crusaders 40-0 Friday night at Unckrich Stadium.
The win pushed Galion’s record to 2-0 and marked the second straight shutout for the Tigers.
But Galion head coach Chris Hawkins acknowledged his team still needs to do work on its passing game.
“We’re going to have to throw the football,” he said. “(Good teams) are going to put people in the box and shut us down. We’re not going to reach our goals if we’re one-dimensional.”
Galion quarterback Chase Cooke, a transfer from Crestline, started the game in place of Jacob Fryer, who was injured in the season opener against Bucyrus.
Cooke, a junior, was suspended for the team’s preseason scrimmages and regular season opener as part of the OHSAA’s investigation into recruiting violations before he transferred to Galion.
Unofficially, Cooke was held to 40 yards passing, although he ran for 74 yards and a touchdown.
“This was his first scrimmage,” Hawkins said. “He did okay. He has work to do, but he’s okay.”
The Tigers were led by Drake Barnett, who unofficially tallied 164 yards rushing on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the big guys up front,” Barnett said. “They’re doing the work. They did good tonight. I’m proud of them.”
The Crusaders started off strong, recording a turnover on the Tigers first play from scrimmage and just missed a potential touchdown pass on the next play.
Hawkins said he wasn’t surprised.
“We knew they have some players,” he said. “They have four or five skill guys that we would take. They played well during the first few series. It was a battle.”
But the Tigers woke up and scored four times in the second half of the first quarter.
Cooke scampered around right end for a 12-yard touchdown followed by Barnett’s 65-yard touchdown run. Colton Moore had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown — his second of the season — and Harrison Ivy added a 5-yard touchdown catch from Cooke to end the quarter.
At that point, Columbus Crusaders head coach Ben Barlow knew his team was in trouble.
“We’re really young,” he said. “We start three freshmen on our offensive line. We knew with the experience Galion had on the line that would be our challenge.”
The Tigers defense was stingy, as they unofficially gave up 41 yards to the Crusaders (1-1).
In addition to the defensive touchdown, the Tigers recorded a safety and blocked two punts.
“Our defense hasn’t been scored on yet,” Barnett said. “We’re going to try to keep it that way.”
“They are very disciplined and knew what their assignments were,” Barlow said. “It took a while for our guys to respond.”
Galion is home against Keystone on Friday, while the Crusaders will play host to the Grove City Reigning Thunder.
Keystone (0-2) dropped its second straight game on Friday, losing to Cloverleaf, 9-6. Cuyahoga Heights defeated the Wildcats 42-6 in Week 1.
The Tigers shut out Keystone 14-0 in Week 3 last season and own a four-game winning streak against the Wildcats dating back to 2011.
Player of the game: Isaiah Davis
Offensive player of the game: Drake Barnett
Defensive player of the game: Zack Throckmorton
Offensive line: Zach Deibig
Defensive line: Isaiah Davis
Special teams: Isaiah Davis
Hit of the game: Drake Barnett
Leading tackler: Zack Throckmorton
Scout player: Mason Weldon
JV scout offense: Nick Sorrenson
JV scout defense: Dayvin Haggamann