Tornado get physical in 16-6 win
By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor
Wideman (5) pulls down one of his three interceptions during the Golden
Tornado's 16-6 football win over Canon McMillan Friday night.
BUTLER TWP — Canon-McMillan enjoys physical football and looked to
The Golden Tornado forced four turnovers — including three interceptions by Trevor Wideman — and rushed for 223 yards in defeating the Big Macs, 16-6, at Art Bernardi Stadium.
“They had eight starters back and they're big,” Butler coach Clyde Conti said of Canon-McMillan. “We were able to stand in there and battle.
“I don't know how good we are, but these kids aren't going to back down from anyone. We played hard tonight.”
Big defensive plays set up all three Golden Tornado scores as Butler defeated a Quad-A opponent for the first time since stopping the Big Macs here in 2008.
Canon-McMillan's first possession ended on a fourth-and-6 play at the Butler 32. Tight end Cooper Schroeder caught a flare pass in the open field, but was drilled to the turf by Jake Olenick a yard short of the sticks.
Butler drove 73 yards on nine plays, the final 40 coming on a fullback blast by Bob Vernick on a third-and-15.
The Big Macs answered that touchdown, but the PAT was blocked.
A sack of quarterback Matt Maletta resulted in a Big Mac fumble that Dakoda Collins recovered at the CM 40 in the third quarter. Colin Williamson booted a 29-yard field goal eight plays later.
Wideman made a diving interception at the CM 36-yard line late in the quarter. Two plays after that, Zach Rader completed his only pass of the game, a 34-yard strike down the middle to Canon Roskovski in the end zone.
“Big defensive plays are important because it takes a lot of pressure off the offense. They don't have to work as hard to score,” Wideman said.
Wideman added two more interceptions deep in Butler territory late in the game, denying the Big Macs (0-3) any chance of late heroics.
The senior defensive back had never intercepted even two passes in a game at any level of football.
“It's not me,” Wideman said. “Everyone on our team is put into position to make plays. Other guys did their jobs well so I could do mine.”
Canon-McMillan was limited to 102 yards rushing on 34 carries. Big-play threat Kenyadda Brown had 12 carries for 54 yards. His biggest gainer was 12 yards.
“(Butler coach) Matt Clement said it first in basketball,” Conti said. “If you want to win in a team sport, you have to play defense.”
The Big Macs did throw for 141 yards with Brown having three catches of more than 20 yards.
“We're not a passing team, though,” Big Macs coach Tim Sohyda said. “We just throw the ball up there. We were taken out of what we wanted to do tonight.
“Butler put the ball on the ground a couple of times to give us field position, but we did nothing with it. They played the game hard for 48 minutes. That's what it takes.”
Maletta was knocked out of the game with a little over a minute to play as he was drilled to the turf just after releasing a completed pass.
“He took a shot in the sternum. It may be bruised, but he should be OK,” Sohyda said.
Vernick had seven carries for 117 yards while surprise starter Kolby Kriess had 22 carries for 98. Butler (2-1, 0-1) used the I-formation instead of the wing-T.
“We're not married to anything here,” Conti said of formations. “As for Kriess ... We were saving him for the prom.
“The coaches noticed how he's looked in practice and said he deserved a shot, so we gave him one.”
Butler travels to Pine-Richland for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Northern Seven play next Friday.