Golden Eagles roll over Red Storm, 33-6

Robert Blackford
Logan Snyder runs 14 yards for the touchdown against United.

The Mercer County Golden Eagles thumped United, 33-6 Friday night in the squad's first home game of the season.

It was a closer contest than the final score indicated. Mercer County led only 6-0 at the half.

"This is one of those games you look forward to," said United coach Fred Lucas. "I felt we lost some opportunities with some penalties."

"Relieved," said Mercer County head coach Nat Zunkel after the victory. "They are a good football team. They'll be a 1A playoff team.

Zunkel added, "We just have to go out and do our thing. We want to be great. The kids played hard we are going to get there. When we decide to do something, we do it. I'm really proud of the kids."

The only score in the first half was a 31 yard touchdown pass from Tanner Matlick to Tyson Nylin at the 4:15 mark.

"They've got a big play offense you have to defend all night," said Lucas.

The United offense kept to the ground and kept the Golden Eagle offense on the sidelines for most of the period. Grant Schrock led the Red storm with 115 yards on 19 carries and Michael Olin added another 100 yards on 20 carries. Trenton Watts also contributed 47 yards on 14 carries.

Lucas said despite the close score at the half he told the team, "We're losing. We have to do something about that. We wanted to correct some of our mistakes.

Lucas added, "It was a team effort tonight. We picked each other up."

"We need to play better than we did," said Jesse Snyder. "We fell asleep in the first half. We had some opportunities. We stepped it up in the second half."

The Golden Eagles went to work quickly in the second half. Matlick connected with passes to Nylin for gains of six and 18 years on the opening drive. Jesse Snyder picked up 22 yards on four carries during the drive and his twin brother Logan took it in for the score from four yards out. Matlick connected with Payton Holmes on the two point conversion and Mercer County led 14-0 at the 7:49 mark.

Mercer County broke the game open at the 5:46 mark as Payton Holmes returned a Red Storm punt 53 yards for the touchdown. Mercer County led 21-0 after Bobby Lincoln's extra point. "After the first touchdown (in the second half) we knew the second one would be big. It gave us a little bit of room. We knew we could run the ball and grind out the clock.

The next big blow came late in the second period Matlick hooked up with Jon Ricke on a 48 yard pass to the United 27 yard line. "It was my first catch of the year. I was wide operand just focused on making the catch and getting as many yards as I could."

On the first play of the fourth period Logan Snyder scored on a 14 yard run. Mercer County led 27-0. "I just trusted my blockers and use the talent God gave me. The lineman had some pretty good blocks."

United got on the board midway through the fourth period. Grant Schrock punched it in from eight yards out. It was the culmination of a 13 play 65 yard drive.

The Golden Eagles weren't finished though. Jesse Snyder scored again on a 25 yard run. The Golden Eagle scoring drive appeared to be stopped and they were forced to punt. But United was called for roughing the punter which allowed the Golden Eagle drive to continue.

Jesse Snyder led the Golden Eagles with 82 yards rushing while Jesse Snyder added 65 more. Tanner Matlick completed seven of his 14 pass attempts for 110 yards and one touchdown. Nylin caught four passes for 63 yards.

"It was a little rough out there tonight," said Logan Snyder. "It was not what we expected."