LAINGSBURG — Coming into Friday night, Pewamo-Westphalia was undefeated overall and in league play and led a trio of Central Michigan Athletic Conference schools with one loss each.
The Pirates have now dominated two of those three schools and will go against the third next week to try and finish off an outright conference championship.
Junior running back Jared Smith had five rushing touchdowns and more than 250 yards rushing in a 50-7 dismantling of previously 5-1 Laingsburg.
“They’re a really easy group to keep focused,” P-W coach Jeremy Miller said about his players. “They want to execute. They want to do things right.”
P-W had previously defeated Dansville 64-7 on Sept. 18. Having already clinched at least a share of the league crown, the Pirates end their CMAC schedule with rival Fowler next Friday, and the Eagles have already taken a conference loss to the Aggies.
Jared Smith began the scoring on Friday with an 8-yard touchdown run and a two-point run. Ryan Smith increased the lead to 14-0 with a 54-yard scoring run later in the first quarter.
Laingsburg took some momentum from the Pirates with a 20-yard run on a fake punt – a play that featured a handoff from an upback to Dan Harkness that went around the edge and down the sideline beginning from the Wolfpack’s own territory.
Harkness then caught a 15-yard TD pass from Jared Hagerty after the drive continued to bring Laingsburg back to within a score.
But P-W came back by opening more holes up front and handing the ball to Smith seemingly every down. He scored on runs of 68, 3 and 13 yards in the second quarter to give the Pirates a 36-7 halftime lead.
“There are a lot of times if you watch our games, he’s not really getting touched until the second level,” Miller said. “He does the rest with linebackers and DBs, but he gets a real good look at what he’s looking at from our offensive line.”
It was a line that lost pieces from last year’s 10-win, Division 7 semifinal team, but did return 275-pound senior Matt Fox and others who have helped Smith run at a record pace.
“Guys come in and replace and they do just as good of a job,” Smith said. “It makes me look good, but they deserve the credit. We worked together over the summer. We’ve come in and everyone knows their job and it’s been working great for us.”
Smith finished off his night with a 17-yard TD run in the third quarter to begin a running clock.
“Laingsburg got after us in the first quarter and we haven’t been pushed like that in a while,” Miller said. “I’m proud of the way our guys responded and the final score was a good thing.”
“At 14-7, I was really liking what was going on and then they answered quickly,” Laingsburg coach Brian Borgman said.
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The P-W defense was strong again — the unit has now allowed just 27 points in six league contests. The Pirates have scored 340 points in CMAC play.
“We’re scoring a lot of points because we’re on the field a lot,” Miller said. “The defense, they do a great job. I think the defense is a bit underlooked as far as what they contribute.”