Local Sports

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Football: Whitmer overpowers Findlay High, 56-25

Staff Writer

TOLEDO -- Toledo Whitmer's Nick Holley is a pretty good quarterback.

As it turns out, he's an outstanding running back, too.

Holley rushed for 324 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 122 yards and another score in powering Toledo Whitmer to a 56-25 win over Findlay on Friday in a pivotal Three Rivers Athletic Conference matchup at rainy Memorial Stadium.

"I thought our offensive line was phenomenal. I thought our defense played extremely well. But tonight was his (Holley's) night," said Toledo Whitmer coach Jerry Bell.

"Nick did a great job managing the game. We were able to move some formations around and take advantage of certain defensive looks they were giving us."

Holley, a senior playing quarterback for the first time since his freshman year, had 448 total yards, accounted for five touchdowns and intercepted a pass on defense.

His effort helped Whitmer improve to 7-0 overall, 4-0 in the TRAC, win its 25th consecutive regular-season game and send soggy homecoming crowd home happy.

Findlay, the preseason No. 1 in a poll of league coaches, fell to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the TRAC. The Trojans were 10th in the computer rankings heading into the game, but will need a number of things to go their way to make a second straight trip to the Division I playoffs.

Findlay scored 25 points against a defense that had allowed just 29 total points in the previous six games.

But the Trojans turned the ball over seven times (three fumbles, four interceptions) in their lowest scoring output of the season.

"We weren't able to punch it in a few times. We left some points on the board," said FHS coach Mark Ritzler.

"Offensively, (Whitmer) didn't do anything we didn't think they were going to do. They just executed very well."

After an exchange of punts, Whitmer took advantage of the first of Findlay's two first-half turnovers. When Paul Cosiano couldn't get a handle a bad snap, Whitmer linebacker Jack Linch recovered the fumble at the Panthers' 43-yard line.

Holley completed a 31-yard pass to running back Me'Gail Frisch, and one play later faked a handoff and followed a nice wall of blockers 22 yards for a score.

Holley's next carry was even more stunning.

On the first play after Findlay freshman Grant McKinniss booted a 30-yard field goal and put the ensuing kickoff in the end zone, Holley again faked the handoff, shot up the middle and raced 80 yards to put Whitmer up 14-3.

Holley -- the quarterback, not the running back -- stood out on Whitmer's next possession.

The senior hit his twin brother Nathan for a 17-yard gain, picked up 4 yards on a third-and-5 play, then got Findlay to jump with a hard count for a key fourth down. On the next snap, Tre Sterritt found a seam, broke several would-be tacklers and raced 43 yards to put Whitmer up 21-3.

Findlay responded with a 73-yard scoring drive, the big play a great catch by Jimmy Orwick (6 receptions, 101 yards) on a 43-yard pass from Cosiano. Cosiano capped the drive, sweeping in from two yards out with 6:27 left in the half.

Holley wasted little time in answering, however. On Whitmer's first play, Holley raced 64 yards to the Findlay 16. On third down, he hit Jamal Bell for the score that put the Panthers up 28-10 at the break.

"He's a winner. He finds a way to make plays on both sides of the ball," Ritzler said. "He's a great high school football player."

With a steady rain continuing to fall, Holley put a damper on Findlay's comeback hopes in the third quarter.

McKinniss again boomed the kickoff into the end zone. But on the first offensive play of the second half, Holley hit his brother Nathan for a 45-yard gain. Findlay then bit on another fake handoff, and Wooley raced the final 35 yards for his third TD of the night.

Findlay tried to answer the call, driving 71 yards to the Whitmer 4-yard line. On a third-and-goal play, however, Holley stepped in front of receiver Joseph Davidson to end the threat.

Both teams added touchdowns during a bizarre sequence in the first 70 seconds of the fourth quarter.

On the second play of the quarter, Holley appeared to have another TD on a 12-yard run. Findlay linebacker Devin Dennard poked the ball free, but Whitmer offensive lineman Lord Lowe fell on it in the end zone.

Findlay fumbled the ball on the ensuing kickoff with Whitmer recovering at the Trojans' 45. On their first play, however, the Panthers fumbled, and Zach Young scooped up the loose ball and raced 67 yards to cut Findlay's deficit to 42-18.

Record-setting Findlay back Vance Settlemire, who set single-game rushing and career scoring marks in last wseek's win over Toledo St. Francis, had another big game for the Trojans.

The senior speedster carried 26 times for 224 yards and a TD, giving him 1,086 yards and 20 rushing TDs for the season.

Findlay is back on the road next week at Oregon Clay.

Toledo Whitmer, meanwhile, continues its march to what appears will be a Week 10 showdown with Toledo Central Catholic in a battle of state-ranked teams for the TRAC championship.

"Findlay is a splendid football team and well-coached," Bell said.

"Today they were an obstacle in our way and we were fortunate to clear that obtacle. I'm proud of our kids because at the end of the day, we expect them to execute at a high level and that's what they did."

Findlay 3 7 0 15 -- 25

Toledo Whitmer 14 14 7 21 -- 56

First Quarter

TW -- Ni. Holley 2 run (Baldwin kick

FIN -- FG McKinniss 30

TW -- Ni. Holley 80 run (Baldwin kick)

Second Quarter

TW -- Sterritt 43 run (Baldwin kick)

FIN -- Cosiano 2 run (McKinniss kick)

TW -- Bell 20 pass from Ni. Holley (Baldwin kick)

Third Quarter

TW -- Ni. Holley 30 run (Baldwin kick)

Fourth Quarter

TW -- Lowe fumble recovery in end zone (Baldwin kick)

FIN -- Young 75 fumble return (Settlemire pass from Cosiano)

TW -- Ni. Holley 6 run (Baldwin kick)

FIN -- Settlemire 62 run (McKinniss kick)

TW -- Schneider 20 run (Baldwin kick)


First Downs 17 21

Rushes-yards 35-233 44-504

Passing Yards 115 122

Comp-Att-Int 12-29-4 5-11-0

Punts-Avg. 3-39.0 4-43.0

Fumbles-Lost 3-3 2-1

Penalties-Yards 4-44 8-70

individual statistics

rushing -- Findlay, Settlemire 26-221, Denard 1-3, Cosiano 6-0, Rodman 2-(minus-1). Whitmer, Ni. Holley 16-324, Sterritt 15-115, Frisch 8-40, Schneider 2-17.

passing -- Findlay, Cosiano 12-29-4-115. Whitmer, Ni. Holley 5-10-0-122, Schneider 0-1-0-0.

receiving -- Findlay, Orwick 6-59, Settlemire 3-6, Niswander 2-15, Krupp 1-(minus-1). Whitmer, Na. Holley 2-52, Frisch 1-31, Bell 1-20, Sterritt 1-9.

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