CAMDEN Usually, the St. Georges offense is 3 yards and a cloud of dust.
But on a wet, windy Thursday night at Caesar Rodney, it was more like 7 yards and a glob of mud.
The Hawks threw only one pass — on the final play of the first half — but rushed 62 times for 375 yards on the way to a satisfying, 34-14 victory over the host Riders.
“It doesn’t bother us one bit,” St. Georges coach J.D. Maull said of the rainy conditions. “It doesn’t change our game plan at all. It helps us, because now we know the other team has to do what we do, which is run the ball. We actually like this type of weather.”
The Hawks (3-1), the top-ranked team in Division II, got 179 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries from Gary Brightwell. Logan Gilbert added 20 carries for 81 yards and two scores, and Warren Henderson made the most of his opportunities with 71 yards and two TDs on only eight carries.
The game was moved up a day because of a forecast calling for a 100 percent chance of rain on Friday, but it was wet anyway. Just like the Hawks like it.
“It was awesome out there,” Brightwell said. “It was very fun. The rain was fun. The team played well, the linemen blocked well, and we all did our jobs.”
St. Georges opened the game with a 71/2-minute, 13-play drive, only to see it end when CR’s Michael Clavier recovered a fumble at the Riders 4.
But CR couldn’t move, and a short put set up the Hawks at the Riders 20. Two plays later, Brightwell went 18 yards on a counter for the game’s first touchdown.
“I thought it was St. Georges’ style of football tonight,” Brightwell said. “That’s all we do. Rain, sleet, snow, it’s all us.”
The Hawks went right back at it on their next drive, taking 11 plays to cover 59 yards. Henderson went the final 4 for a 14-0 lead with 5:42 left in the first half.
St. Georges found a faster way to score the next time, rolling 62 yards in just three plays. Tordell Kemp went 16 yards on a bootleg, Brightwell broke a 14-yard gain and Henderson covered the last 32 on a sweep around the left side to make it 21-0.
The Hawks gained 228 yards in the first half, while holding the Riders (1-3) to minus-1 yard. But CR got untracked to start the second half.
Najee Whitted broke a 23-yard run on the first play for the Riders’ second first down of the night. Whitted picked up 23 more on a third-and-6, and Brian Lewis found the end zone on a 2-yard keeper to pull CR within 21-6 with 9:40 left in the third quarter.
“The first drive back on defense, we struggled,” Maull said. “They came right after us and knocked us back. But we got it back together.”
The Hawks did it with their longest drive of the night, taking 9:02 off the clock while grinding 70 yards in 17 plays. Gilbert went the final yard to push the lead to 28-6.
Backup QB Jared Wagenhoffer threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Bailey DeAtley to pull CR within 28-14 to play. But St. Georges ran almost all the remaining time off the clock with a nine-play march, with Gilbert scoring the final points on a 4-yard run with 39.5 seconds left.
“It builds character for us,” Maull said. “Hopefully, this will help us out down the road.”
Contact Brad Myers at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ