Black River's Spencer Constable pushes back Gilmour Academy's Mario Grk for a loss in the second quarter Friday night at Black River High School. (JUDD SMERGLIA / GAZETTE)
SULLIVAN TWP. — Welcome to ground-and-pound time in the playoffs.
Third-seeded Black River wore down sixth-seeded Gilmour Academy in the second half of a Division V, Region 17 quarterfinal Friday night, pounding out 433 yards on the ground in a 44-13 victory.
The Pirates next face seventh-seeded Wickliffe, which upset second-seeded Grand Valley 25-22.
Senior Jacob Campbell scored three touchdowns while carrying 24 times for 164 yards, Riley Gibbs added 11 carries for 182 yards and a score and Travis Sexton pounded Gilmour nine times for 99 yards and two TDs.
“That’s the motto of our offense — ground and pound,” Campbell said. “That’s why we run so much. That’s why we work so hard.”
The Pirates (10-1) led just 14-7 at intermission, but returned the second-half kickoff to the Gilmour 31-yard line. Two Campbell runs later, the Pirates were celebrating in the end zone and the momentum was all behind the home team.
“He’s a load, and that’s his kind of running game,” Pirates coach Al Young said. “At the end of the third quarter, you watch, he just gets stronger as he goes. That rubs off on the other kids.”
It certainly did on junior linebacker Alex Vormelker, who time and again hounded the Lancers (6-5) at the line of scrimmage, delivering punishing blow after punishing blow.
“I love this kind of game. This was great,” Vormelker said. “We practiced real hard all week and we went all out for the game. As soon as we came out the doors and smacked that ‘Play like a champion’ sign, we knew it was time to go.”
Gilmour finished with 256 yards, but 78 came on the first drive and 65 on the last, when the running clock already was in Black River’s favor. In between the Pirates held the Lancers to 113 yards.
“We were just in the wrong spots and they caught us off guard,” Vormelker said of the first drive. “We got it figured out and that was that.”
Campbell carried 15 times for 77 yards and two scores in the first half, then added the quick touchdown to start the second half. From there, Sexton and Gibbs made the big plays and let Campbell grind away at the Gilmour line.
Midway through the third quarter, it seemed like every other play a Gilmour player was slow to get up, was cramping or needed assistance to reach the sideline.
“The physicalness of the game started to take over,” Young said. “After that (first drive) we settled down and we put the wood to them.”
Young said the Pirates did the same on offense.
“Our offensive line is fantastic, and they’ve been doing a great job all year of that,” he said.
Added Campbell: “It’s our line. They just get out and we run behind them. It’s a blast. It’s the best part about football.”
Contact Chris Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black River 44, Gilmour Academy 13
GILMOUR ACADEMY 7 0 0 6 — 13
BLACK RIVER 0 14 24 6 — 44
G — C.J. Charleston 31 pass from Jack Krebs (Vinny Cantanese kick), 5:04.
B — Jacob Campbell 5 run (Sexton run), 11:00.
B — Campbell 1 run (run failed), 4:12.
B — Campbell 9 run (Riley Bartolic run), 11:37.
B — Travis Sexton 19 run (Riley Gibbs run), 7:34.
B — Sexton 9 run (River Wheeler pass from Bartolic), 2:25.
B — Gibbs 54 run (run failed), 5:32.
G — Mario Grk 1 run (pass failed), 0:49.
First downs 16 23
Rushing 36/135 47/433
Rushing average 3.8 9.2
Passing 7/19 1/3
Passing yards 121 7
Total offense 55/256 50/440
Punting 3/28.0 1/38.0
Penalties 2/10 1/5
Fumbles 2/0 1/1
RUSHING: Gilmour — Grk 13-55, Jarret Fox 12-43, Charleston 6-30, Krebs 5-7. Black River — Gibbs 11-182, Campbell 24-164, Sexton 9-99, Bartolic 3-(-12).
PASSING: Gilmour — Krebs 7-19-121-1. Black River — Bartolic 1-3-7-0.
RECEIVING: Gilmour — Grk 4-63, Charleston 2-42, Fox 1-16. Black River — Sexton 1-7.