Seventh-ranked Van Meter humbles Woodward-Granger

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John Stucker (12) throws a block for quarterback Brendan Bird, who opted to keep the ball instead of pitching to a trailing Tanner Vermaas (28). The play gained seven yards.

WOODWARD — One week after a 47-12 loss at Madrid, Woodward-Granger suffered a 52-0 defeat at the hands of Van Meter. With Class 1A No.5 and No. 7 now out of the way, the Hawks will, no doubt, be grateful for the start of District 5 play Friday when they face winless Woodward Academy at Hawk Stadium.

The home gridirion was no refuge against Van Meter, as the Bulldogs (2-0) were returning many of the key pieces from their semifinalist team of 2015. The guests unleashed an offensive barrage from the start, racing to a 24-0 lead after one quarter of play before tacking on three second-quarter touchdowns to enter the intermission with a 45-0 margin.

W-G quarterback Brendan Bird found John Stucker for a long gain in the early moments, but Stucker was run down from behind by Sam Thompson, who ripped the ball away with teammate Cameron Smolik landing on the pigskin.

Carson Rhodes struck quickly by bursting off left tackle and racing 54 yards for a 7-0 Bulldog leg. Blake Fryar connected with Anthony Lowman on a 54-yard TD catch-and-run on the next Van Meter possession to push the margin to 14-0.

The Hawk offense went nowhere on their ensuing possession, with a snap over the head of punter Tanner Vermaas allowing the guests to take over on the 12-yard line. Rhodes dashed in untouched — again off left tackle — on the next snap.

A Drew Gordon 42-field goal the next time the visitors had the ball widened the gap to 24-0 after only 12 minutes of play, effectively ending any drama.

Lowman caught two TD passes from Fryar in the second stanza, with Rhodes adding another TD on the ground to create the 45-0 halftime gulf. Brady O’Brien’s short plunge in the third quarter capped the scoring.

Woodward-Granger's Brendan Bird puts a big hit on Van Meter's Carson Rhodes during their non-district game last Friday. J.P. Nixon (5) and Josh Saak (27) close in on the play for the Hawks.
Woodward-Granger’s Brendan Bird puts a big hit on Van Meter’s Carson Rhodes during their non-district game last Friday. J.P. Nixon (5) and Josh Saak (27) close in on the play for the Hawks.

Bird was 4-of-11 for 55 yards in the air for W-G and was intercepted once. He connected with Stucker for 33 yards and with Josh Saak for 12 yards while Vermaas caught one pass for seven yards and Payton Tague one for three yards.

Van Meter held the hosts to just 58 yards rushing on 38 carries and had eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Bird ran four times for 13 yards, Tague six times for 12 yards and Vermaas 15 times for just 10 yards.

Vermaas had six tackles to lead the defense, with Austin Scharlau in on 5.5 stops while Dillon Fogarty and Joe Sturgeon each had a tackle for a loss.

Fryar was 8-of-11 for 192 passing yards and three TDs, all of which went to Lowman, who led the Bulldog receivers with 137 yards on four grabs.

Rhodes ran nine times of 137 yards to highlight a ground attack that gained 254 yards on 30 carries.

Friday’s contest at Hawk Stadium will be played with Woodward Academy serving as the home team. Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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