8-21-2020 Niss Stadium
LUCAS vs ONTARIO
Lucas, making itself at home in the MOAC, knocks off Ontario
By Carl Hunnel of Richland Source
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ONTARIO -- The Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference invited Division VII independent Lucas into their house for the shortened 2020 Ohio high school football season.
The Cubs, who advanced to the state title game last year, are making themselves right at home, albeit it all on the road.
Lucas, which knocked off Div. IV Clear Fork in the season opener last week, did it again Friday night, literally pounding out a 28-21 win at Div. IV Ontario.
The Cubs did it by rushing for 377 yards on 68 attempts, led by sophomore Grant Barrett, who rumbled for 162 yards on 22 carries, scoring all four Lucas touchdowns.
Barrett's final score came with just six seconds left, diving into the end zone on an eight-yard sweep to cap an 11-run, 80-yard march that took just 4:29.
MOTIVATION: "The word on the street was our guys heard about a podcast where somebody who (broadcasts) Mansfield Tyger games thought we couldn't run the ball (against Ontario)," Lucas coach Scott Spitler said.
"Our guys took that a little personal. So it is what it is. We love being looked down on.
"We have a great stable of running backs. Grant and Ethan Sauder (26 carries, 137 yards) lead that group and I couldn't be more proud of him. There is nobody who works harder than (Barrett)," Spitler
The 5-11, 163-pound Barrett is another in a lengthening line of outstanding Lucas running backs.
"It was a long, grueling game," Barrett said. "Our line blocked great and our defense got a nice stop at the end. All the pieces of the puzzle came together to make a win.
"That last play was a sweep to the right. I made a little juke and jab step and then whole side was wide open. I just dove for the pylon and got in," Barrett said.
Ontario coach Chris Miller, whose team has lost by a total of 21 points against teams with a combined 4-0 record, said the tightly-bunched Lucas ground game is deceiving.
The Cubs simply seek to get more blockers, including their quarterback, quicker to the point of attack than the defense has defenders.
"As funny as it sounds, with as tight as they are, they make you defend the field from left to right. They bunch in and then spread you out. When you don't have the big horses to eat people up, it becomes a guessing game," Miller said.
"There were times we guessed right and there were times we guessed wrong and they popped a couple of big ones early," he said.
FAST START -- Lucas got started quickly, taking a 14-0 lead after one quarter. Barrett capped drives of 80 and 60 yards during the first period, scoring on runs of 45 and 16 yards.
Ontario, led by senior quarterback Ethan Snyder, battled back with two TDs in the second quarter to tie the game 14-14 at halftime.
Snyder, who completed 12 of 19 passes for 149 yards and rushed 11 times for 56 yards, got the Warriors on the board early in the second period with a 5-yard TD run. With 1:15 left before the intermission, he connected on a 24-yard TD pass to Griffin Shaver.
Shaver finished with seven catches for 88 yards.
Lucas found its rhythm again on offense in the second half, scoring on drives of 83 yards and 80 yards, all of it on the ground.
To Spitler, it was not a change of strategy as much as it was a change of desire.
"Early in the second quarter, I think we got full of ourselves. I think we thought we could just pop and stop. We weren't blocking through the whistle. We challenged them at halftime," Spitler said.
"We did not change anything offensively (in the second half). It was about our guys blocking to the whistle, not just popping the guy and letting him go. Because (Ontario) has athletes. Their kids will get off the ball," Spitler said.
Despite the Lucas ground game, Ontario had a chance to win. The Warriors tied the game at 21 with 11:55 left in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Snyder.
The Ontario defense then forced Lucas to punt with just over six minutes left to play. The snap was high and freshman kicker Aiden Culler was swarmed by Warrior defenders, led by senior Kolten Kurtz, giving Ontario the ball at the Lucas 33-yard line with 6:01 left.
After Snyder rushed for 15 yards on the first play, the Lucas defense stiffened. Ontario was forced to try a 30-yard field goal by senior Spencer Hall. His kick had plenty of distance, but sailed wide left, setting up the final Lucas scoring drive.
"We had opportunities down the stretch," Miller said. "We get the ball inside their 35 yard line and we get nothing out of it. We've got to get our offense going. There is no excuse not to score the ball.
"We just need to figure some things out in order to ge
t into the win column. We don't want to lose football games. We gotta find a way to win late," he said.
UP NEXT: Lucas continues its MOAC roadshow next Friday at Marion Pleasant. The Spartans are 1-1 after a loss to Shelby in week two. Ontario seeks its first win at 2-0 River Valley next Friday.
LUCAS -- Grant Barrett 45-yard run (PAT Aiden Culler kick)
LUCAS -- Barrett 16-yard run (PAT Culler kick)
ONTARIO -- Ethan Snyder 5-yard run (PAT Spencer Hall kick)
ONTARIO -- Griffin Shaver 24-yard pass from Snyder (PAT Hall kick)
LUCAS -- Barrett 6-yard run (PAT Culler kick)
ONTARIO -- Snyder 2-yard run (PAT Hall kick)
LUCAS -- Barrett 8-yard run (PAT Culler kick)