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Rushing attack gives Vandalia 200th win

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By Dave Bell

Two weeks ago, the Vandalia football team started well, scoring two quick touchdowns against Roxana, but then was blanked the rest of the game as the Shells scored 32 unanswered points.

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On Friday, the Vandals made sure that didn’t happen again. They hit hard early, put the pedal to the metal and never let up.

After scoring twice in the first two minutes of the game, they used a punishing ground game interspersed with effective passing to accumulate 20 points in the first quarter, 13 in the second and 13 more in the third. The scoring barrage kept the speedy Panthers on their heels much of the game. Litchfield did manage two passing touchdowns in the second half, but in the end, the Vandals delivered a 46-16 thrashing for an appreciative homecoming crowd. It was the 200th win in Vandal football history.

Running the option to perfection, the host Vandals amassed 290 yards on the ground, with Levi Ulmer leading the way with 14 carries for 105 yards and four touchdowns. He was followed closely by Nate Henna with five carries for 102 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Marty Johnson accounted for two touchdowns – a 21-yard run in the first quarter and a 30-yard aerial to Henna in the waning seconds of the first half.

For the game, Johnson accumulated 44 yards on the ground and 96 yards through the air, completing five of seven attempts. Henna had three receptions for 64 yards, while Bryan Hosick hauled in a pair for 32 yards.
As a team, the Vandals had 386 yards of total offense.

On the defensive side, Blake Mills led the Vandals with eight solo tackles and an assist. He was followed by Hosick with five solos, and Daniel Bell, Marcus Mosley and Chris Knebel contributed four tackles apiece.

“We came out and jumped on it,” Vandal coach John Stout said after the win that moves the Vandals to 3-2 on the season. “We established the option game, running an unbalanced formation that put them in a bind. We had too many people out on the perimeter, and outnumbered them there.

“We got our weapons going early,” Stout said. “Levi hit hard up the middle, and they seemed content to pinch off the inside. When they did that, we just kept running options and sweeps, and we were able to hurt them on the perimeter.”

For the game, Ulmer scored three times early on runs of 1 yard each, then popped a 64-yard scoring run midway through the third quarter. His fourth score was set up by an interception by Justin Rubin on the Vandals’ 1-yard line that thwarted a Litchfield scoring drive. Rubin returned the interception to the Vandalia 36-yard line before Ulmer broke through the Panther line for his longest run of the night.

The touchdown made the score 46-0, which initiated the running clock for the remainder of the game.

Litchfield responded with a long play of its own on the next series. An 80-yard pass from Alex Hull to Craig Johns gave the Panthers their first points of the game as the third quarter ended. With two minutes gone in the fourth quarter, the pair teamed up again for the final score of the game – a 20-yard pass play.

The loss drops Litchfield’s record to 1-4 for the season.

On the defensive side, Stout said it was a team effort that shut down the Panthers’ offense.

“Mills played well in the middle, and Hosick and Henna had nice games on the ends. Our line put on a tremendous pass rush.

“Our kids really put together a good week in practice and a good game.”

Though the game featured many positives, sophomore backup quarterback and defensive safety Tim Ritchey was lost for the season with a broken left forearm late in the fourth quarter.

The Vandals host Hillsboro this Friday.

JV Game

The JV football team defeated Litchfield 30-20 on Monday.

At halftime, the Vandals led 20-0 after Ryan Ambuehl ran for two scores, and Alex Newsom added a third. Vandalia tacked on a 2-point conversion following the second score.

In the second half, the Vandals got a safety, and a second Newsom touchdown. Ambuehl added the 2-point conversion.

Leaders

Vandalia High School's football stat leaders through the first five weeks.

Passing
Marty Johnson:  34 of 64 (53.1 percent) for 497 yards, 4 TD and 5 INT

Rushing
Levi Ulmer: 53 rushes for 255 yards (5 ypc), 4 TD
Nate Henna: 26 rushes for 206 yards (7.92 ypc), 2 TD
Marty Johnson: 32 rushes for 150 yards (4.69 ypc), 3 TD

Receiving
Nate Henna: 16 catches for 278  yards (17.4 ypc), 3 TD
Matt Hoffman: 6 catches for 68 yards (11.3 ypc), TD
Daniel Bell: 5 catches for 68 yards (13.6 ypc)

Tackles
Marcus Mosley: 28 solo, 15 assisted, 43 total
Levi Ulmer: 19 solo, 14 assisted, 33 total
Daniel Bell: 21 solo, 12 assisted, 33 total
Tyler Craig: 21 solo, 11 assisted, 32 total

Return yards
Daniel Bell: 11 returns for 104 yards (9.45 ypr)
Tim Ritchey: 7 returns for 102 yards (14.6 ypr)
Bryan Hosick: 1 return for 82 yards (82 ypr), TD

Kickoffs
Ryan Ambuehl: 14 kicks for 508 yards (36.3 ypk)
Daniel Bell: 8 kicks for 318 yards (39.75 ypk)

Punts
Daniel Bell: 9 punts for 212 yards (23.5 ypp)