THORNDALE—Playing for their playoff lives and with an important cog in the offensive machine standing on the sideline, the Thorndale defense took up the slack.
Limiting run-minded Flatonia to 51 yards on the ground, the Bulldogs kept themselves in line for a playoff berth with a 19-0 blanking of the Bulldogs at a chilly Bulldog Stadium.
With its first shutout of the season, Thorndale improves to 6-2 on the year and 1-1 in District 13A-I.
Flatonia slips to 3-6 and 0-3.
“The team played great,” said Thorndale Coach Brent Brevard. “We were especially pleased with our defensive effort. We held them to 51 rushing yards.”
It was Thorndale’s first shutout since it defeated Hamilton 51-0 in the 2010 season opener.
“On film they would get on offense and hold the ball and keep it away from you, so we were concerned with that, but the kids did a great job.”
With leading rusher Darius Brooks on the mend, Austin took the opportunity to reel off 76 yards rushing on 14 totes and hauled in five passes for 88 more yards with a touchdown and an extra point.
Coming into the contest, the sophomore—who was not on the varsity roster to start the season— had carried the ball just 13 times for 123 yards and caught four passes for 71 yards.
According to Brevard, Brooks (679 yards, 10 TDs) is expected back for Friday’s tilt.
Quarterback Riley Schaefer contributed 112 yards passing and has gone over the 1,000-yard mark with 1,070 on the season.
Flatonia averaged just 1.3 yards per carry.
Bruns did account for most of Flatonia’s offense (192 yards) with 141 yards through the air.
After a scoreless first quarter, Rowdy McCoy (12 carries, 55 yards) scored his first touchdown of the season with an eight-yard burst to make it 7-0 with nine seconds gone off the clock in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs would not score again until after halftime when Austin busted through the line from the three to make it 13-0 with 7 minutes, 54 seconds left in the third quarter after a missed extra point.
Thorndale would close out the scoring in the fourth quarter as Schaefer (9 carries, 42 yards) broke loose for a 17-yard score with 6:06 remaining to be played.
Friday’s matchup with Thrall will mark the 82nd time the two schools have battled in their annual battle for supremacy of Highway 79.
Thorndale leads the series 50-28-3 and has won five straight and 30 of the last 34 against Thrall.
From 1989 through 2004, the Dawgs reeled off 12 straight wins in the series.
Led by Seth Rutter’s 100-yard rushing effort, the Bulldogs ran past Thrall 21-8 in 2011 at a packed Bulldog Stadium.
The Tigers are coming off a 52-7 thrashing at the hands of league leader Weimar and they stand 4-4 on the season and 1-1 in district play.
“Thrall of course is always a big game for Thorndale,” Brevard said. “ They will play hard and be ready for us. “
Coach Jeff Doege provides some stability for the Tigers in his second year and provided a 6-6 playoff team last season.
From 2007 to 2011, Thrall employed four different coaches.
The Tigers feature the worst defense in the league, allowing 26 points a game.
This week—Thorndale at Thrall; Weimar at Holland; Flatonia is idle.
Last week—Thorndale 19, Flatonia 0; Weimar 52, Thrall 7; Holland was idle.
Rushing—Brooks 97-679 10TD, McCoy 44-250 TD Barker 39-214 4TD, Miller 25-205 3TD, Mays 26-152 2TD, Austin 27-199 3TD, Guzman 11-102 TD, Schaefer 29-97 2TD, Miller, J. 13-17, Salinas 1-(-5), Bigan 1-(-7).
Passing— Schaefer 73-128-3, 1,139 yards 11 TD; Miller, J. 5-13-1, 95 yards TD; Mays 3-8-0, 36 yards, Stockton 1-1-0.
Receiving— Mays 25-389 4TD, Stockton 5-132, Austin 9-159 TD, Guzman 5-120 2TD, Miller, J. 5-109 2TD, Gomez 8-85, Salinas 9-82 2TD, Miller 5-67 TD, Hafley 5-41, Bigan 1-6, Brooks 2-8, McCoy 2-3.