Macalester Scots Coaching Staff Creates Master Plan to Defeat Ripon, 28-20
Consider this for a moment. You own a company and you hire a new employ who has a resume that looks pretty good, but has never quite excelled. However, once he walks through the doors to your organization not only does he prove to be a real star, but he actually takes over. He out performs your other employees and quickly starts to take over your company, pushing you to the side. Seem wrong? Welcome to the new Macalester Scots.
Joining the Midwest Conference (MWC) for their inaugural season, the Scots are proving to be very rude newcomers, winning their third straight conference game, and improving their record to 4-1. This is one of the fastest starts in the team’s history, and the school’s record for wins in a season (7) looks to be in serious jeopardy as Coach Tony Jennison and his incredible staff continue to build game plans that are quickly turning the Scots into a team no one wants to face.
Saturday Macalester traveled to Ripon College for a border war between the two schools. This was a game that had Coach Jennison and has defensive staff worried, as they were facing a triple option offense, the likes of which his team had never seen before. The Red Hawks had five players with at least 100 yards rushing this season already, and the combination of QB Stephen Covalt and RB Eric Hussin formed one of the most dominant 1-2 punches in the conference. Clearly the two were a headache for any coach in the MWC.
The Scots had their own headache in RB Zandy Stowell and QB Samson Bialostok. In fact, the two have been more of a migraine for opposing coaches, and they proved to be so for the Ripon coaching staff on this day, especially on the ground. Bialostok rushed for 146-yards on just 16 carries and a score, and Stowell battered his way to 120 yards on 27 carries, adding two TDs of his own.
The two delivered early as they staked the Scots to a 14-0 lead. On the Scots first drive Stowell carried the ball five times for 43 yards in a 13-play, 67-yard drive that was capped-off by a 19-yard burst by the back for a 7-0 lead. The Red Hawks defense had no answer for Stowell as he went over and through anything that got in his way.
On the second drive it was time for Bialostok to star. After a six-yard carry by Stowell set up a second and four, the QB kept the ball and made some nice moves to get free for a 31-yard gain down to the Ripon 46. One play later Bialostok hit Tre Nowaczynski on a beautifully thrown pass for a 41-yard score and a 14-0 lead.
The Red Hawks would respond with a 14-play, 63-yard drive, but would turn the ball over on downs at the Macalester six when they were unable to convert a fourth down play. The Scots defense had made a huge stop to keep the Red Hawks off the scoreboard, and it had to be a little deflating for Ripon as they held the ball for 7:22 but came up empty.
Macalester then began their own lengthy drive. Moving 86-yards on 23-plays down to the Ripon six-yard line, but on a fourth and two play, Stowell was stuffed by Gage Ferkey and the Scots would turn the ball over on downs. The drive had taken 12:26 off the clock, but still resulted in no points for Macalester.
That seemed to spark the Red Hawks, as Ripon would finally get on the board and they would do it quickly. QB Tom Sawyer’s pass to Hussin moved the ball to the 14 and set-up a second and four. On the next play Sawyer found Nathan Silloway for an 86-yard catch and dash for a touchdown, and just like that the lead was cut in half.
Both teams were forced into three-n-outs on their first possessions of the second half, but the Red Hawks mounted a big drive on their second possession to tie the score at 14. Running on nine of the 10 plays in the drive, Ripon moved 54-yards and scored on a 1-yard sneak by Covalt.
Needing a big spark from their offense, Bialostok and Stowell delivered. The two were the catalysts for a huge 16-play, 86-yard drive that put the Scots back on top. Bialostok made three big plays with this feet, having carries of 14-, 8- and 11-yards in the drive, and Stowell scored from one-yard out to make it a 21-14 game. While the QB was making great plays on the ground, it was his 43-yard pass play to Sam Bordo that really got the drive moving.
On their next possession, Bialostok was ready to live up to his powerful first name again. A 23-yard scamper by the senior on the first play moved the ball to the Ripon 43. Two plays later Bialostok hit Nowaczynski for 19 more down to the 27. After an eight-yard run by Ethan Carpenter made it first and ten at the 11, the senior quarterback took the ball on a quarterback keeper, made some nice moves and scored to put the lead back to 14.
Ripon would add a last second touchdown, but the game was well in hand by that point. A great defensive scheme had done its job and helped to give the Scots the huge victory.
While Bialostok and Stowell were moving the ball on the ground in huge chunks, Macalesters defense was containing that triple option offense. The Red Hawks had 39 carries for 155 yards, a 3.7 average, and the quarterback combination of Sawyer and Covalt was held to 183 yards passing.
Reid Callahan had another outstanding game for the Scots, making 10 tackles, nine solo, to lead the defense. Jole Miller continues to be a playmaker from the safety position, making nine tackles and CB Konnor Fleming had seven tackles and a huge interception.
It was a great performance by a group that took the plan of their coaching staff and implemented it to perfection. It was clear that the intelligence of this team aided them in grasping how to stop this attack, staying focused on their assignments and making plays. The ground game for the Red Hawks never seemed to get on track, and it was a beautifully designed defensive scheme that shut that attack down.
Next week the Scots travel to Beloit, Wisconsin to face the 2-3 Beloit College Buccaneers. They are led by running back Mason Dixon who has 534 yards rushing and five TDs this season.
By Robert Pannier