Sterling Heights couldn’t stop Ryan Ellul and the Marysville run game this past Friday night.
So much so, that the Vikings were scoring on plays even Ellul couldn’t explain.
“I just watched it earlier today, and I was kind of shocked about it,” Ellul said of his 50-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, which came on a broken play. “I got the handoff kind of off to the center, and there was a big group around me. I don’t really know how I got out of it.”
The touchdown was one of five on the night for Ellul, who rushed for 235 yards on 28 carries in Marysville’s 48-21 win against the Stallions. For his efforts, Ellul is the Times Herald Athlete of the Week.
“Backs can have speed, they can have power, but the big thing with Ryan is that he has that vision,” Marysville coach Mark Caza said. “He has that ability to cut back against the grain.”
Marysville’s win gave it a chance at a share of the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division title, as Sterling Heights entered the game with an unbeaten conference record. Caza called it one of more special moments of the season for the Vikings (3-1, 5-2), who can clinch that share – or better, if Marine City and Sterling Heights lose – of the league title with a win Friday against St. Clair.
The Vikings are entering the game on a four-game win streak and appear to be playing their best football of the season.
“I think we’re coming together more as a team as the season goes on,” Ellul said. “We have different people for offense and defense, and now you see us on the field, in the hallways, in the locker room coming together and going over plays. Everybody is getting along much better.”
In games, Marysville’s offense is doing what it was expected to do – run the ball successfully. Ellul eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark against Sterling Heights, and at 1,027 yards is just 3 yards away from his 11-game total a year ago.
His backfield-mate, Dante Chrcek, has 842 yards on the season. Both are averaging more than 100 yards per game, both have more than 10 touchdowns (16 for Ellul, 11 for Chrcek) and both are averaging more than seven yards per carry.
“It’s huge, because if you have just one back and he’s more of an outside runner, teams can focus on that,” Ellul said. “We have another back that goes up the middle and is straight power, so you’ve got to focus on both of them.
“When you get the ball back to back to back, you can get tired, and you can’t be 100 percent every time. When you alternate handoffs, you get a fresh pair of legs.”
It’s all adding up to a four-game win streak, and if Marysville’s success continues, it could not only lead to a conference title, but also some home playoff games.
“I think everybody is extremely excited – we’re actually starting to see Marysville football getting the name back and coming back together,” Ellul said. “St. Clair is a rivalry school, and no matter how they’re playing and where they’re at, we’re going to play our hardest no matter what. Everybody is so excited.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.