Swanton had five first half touchdown runs from three different ball carriers in a 49-6 route of Toledo Rogers in the home opener Friday night.
They close out non-league play at 2-1, bouncing back from a loss to Start the week before.
“Last week was a tough game for us,” said head coach Randy Kerns after the win over Rogers. “I really thought we were an equal team (with Start) last week, we just made too many mistakes and too many penalties. I thought we needed to sure things up, get rolling on the ground first and play physical football.
“It was nice to come back home and get that victory for sure.”
Michael Lawniczak gave the Bulldogs an 8-0 first quarter lead with a 10-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion. Gage Pachlhofer’s 29-yard scamper around the end but a failed two-point conversion pushed the lead to 14-0 with 6:40 left in the first quarter.
At the 2:11 mark of the quarter, Lawniczak scored from 15 yards out to make it 21-0 after Anthony Howard’s extra point.
“We took the football (to start the game). I said I want to send a message,” said Kerns of his team getting out to a fast start. “I want to score right away and we did that. And we kept it on them pretty well. We got to the outside which is our base stuff.”
To the coach’s point, they extended their lead in the second quarter as running back Zack Leahey punched it in from three yards out, increasing the Bulldog lead at 28-0 with just under nine minutes left.
Rogers quarterback Christian Warren initiated a scoring drive using his legs on the ensuing possession. He scrambled for 40 yards to get the ball down to the Swanton three yard line. Warren would hit Odie Smith in the end zone for a TD and although the extra point was missed, the Rams trimmed the Bulldog lead to 28-6 with 6:46 left until halftime.
Later in the quarter, the Dogs took advantage of a short field as Pachlhofer ran one in from four yards away to make it 35-6 at the half.
Swanton put the Rams away using their defense in the second half.
After Rogers moved into Bulldog territory, Swanton stripped Warren on a sack and Xavier Williams scooped it up and ran 74 yards the other way for a TD.
“We had a stretch there we didn’t play very well. So I wasn’t happy with the big plays they got offensively,” said Kerns. “But yeah, the message (in the second half) is definitely that, to come out strong, finish the game. And Xavier Williams getting that scoop and score was huge. Took the momentum right out (from Rogers).”
Lukas Reiner of Swanton intercepted Warren’s pass on the next Ram possession, giving the Dogs the ball at Rogers’ 36 yard line. They then methodically marched down the field where back-to-back runs from Leahey resulted in a score to make it 49-6 with 4:37 left in the third.
Lawniczak and Pachlhofer each had 56 yards rushing and two TDs to lead the Swanton offense. Leahey added 39 yards on 12 carries and a pair of scores.
On defense, Reiner collected four tackles to go along with his interception.
Swanton will open Northwest Ohio Athletic League play with a game at Bryan (1-2) this Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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