REESE – The game plan was pretty simple for Ubly Friday night.
But it was oh so effective.
The Bearcats ran up the middle with their tall, powerful running backs, or ran outside with super quick quarterback Casey Sweeney.
The result was a ton of rushing yardage and a 50-19 win over Reese in a Greater Thumb Conference crossover game.
Ubly, ranked No. 5 in the state in Division 8, took advantage of big, athletic running backs Carson Heleski (6-foot-1,175 pounds), Collin Oberski (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) and Shane Osantowski (6-foot-5, 200 pounds), who pounded the ball up the middle, mainly on dive plays.
Mix in Sweeney, a 5-foot-8, 160-pound dynamo who averaged nearly 10 yards per carry on quarterback keepers ran to the left and right, and the Bearcats were virtually unstoppable.
Reese is now 2-2 while the Bearcats are 4-0.
Ubly set the tone in the first half with 314 rushing yards. Three players – Sweeney (108 yards), Oberski (96 yards) and Heleski (95 yards) – combined for nearly 300 of them.
Ubly led 12-6 after one quarter and 26-6 at halftime. A bright spot for the Rockets in the first half was the play of sophomore running back Levi Foco, who had a 40-yard run on the Rockets first play from scrimmage and rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries by halftime.
In the second half, while Ubly continued its punishing run game, the Rockets delivered a couple of big plays to keep things interesting. Down 32-6 in the third quarter, Marcel Elbers – on his first rush of the game – galloped 42 yards for a touchdown. On its next possession, Reese quarterback Jake Kowalski hit receiver Bryce Brechtelsbauer streaking down the field with a 59-yard touchdown pass.
But ultimately, the Rockets had no answer for Ubly’s run game, which ended up totaling 580 yards.
“We’ll come back Monday and go right back to work,” said Reese first-year coach Cody Reif. “We’re building a program, and it starts with fundamentals.”
The final tally for Ubly, which dressed just 15 players for the game: Heleski had 17 rushes for 229 yards and a touchdown; Sweeney tallied 142 yards and a TD on 14 carries; and Oberski rushed for 133 yards and a score on 12 attempts. Sweeney attempted only one pass, which was incomplete.
The Bearcats averaged 11 yards per rushing attempt.
Foco rushed 15 times for 119 yards for Reese, which totaled 204 rush yards and 72 yards through the air. Kowalski rushed for 21 yards and a first-quarter, two-yard touchdown and completed 2-of-4 passes for 72 yards. Elbers had 46 yards on two rushing attempts.
The Rockets return to Greater Thumb West action Friday when they host the Sugar Bowl against rival Unionville-Sebewaing Area.