Wolverines topple C-A-M in shootout

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

A midweek overhaul to the offense and a recent roster addition came up big for East Mills in a wild 57-56 Eight-man, District 7 victory over C-A-M Friday in Malvern.

The Wolverines, who scored just 32 points combined in their 0-3 start, eclipsed that total midway through the first quarter against the Cougars (3-2). The offensive explosion was a result of a change in the offense East Mills coach Kevin Schafer instituted at Monday’s practice.

“We weren’t winning enough battles up front,” Schafer said of his team’s former offense. “We want to run the ball so we figured if we spread teams out, we’ll might be able to get our running game going as well as our passing game, which has been OK. We had a lot of success with three receivers and a running back and four blockers. We mixed in the run and the short pass and the long pass occasionally.”

The Wolverines “success” on offense – which racked up a season-high 395 yards – was helped by the roster addition of Dylan Schroeder to the team two weeks ago. Schroeder, a senior, suited up for his first game since his freshman season expecting to just play special teams Friday. But an injury to Wolverine receiver Riley Story pressed the team’s lone senior into action.

“He gives us a dynamic athlete with his speed and quickness we didn’t already have on our team,” Schafer said. “He can take a short pass and take in the distance. We don’t have a lot of guys that can do that.”

Schroeder hauled in 11 passes from quarterback Michael Schafer, who finished 19-of-28 through the air for 250 yards and four TDs, taking two to the endzone. The speedy Schroeder also returned a punt for a first quarter touchdown and picked off two passes on defense.

“They (C-A-M) had no idea he was on our team so they had no film on him and no scouting on him. I’m guessing he’ll have to work a little harder after this.”

The Wolverines led 42-28 at the half and extended their lead to 57-34 early in the fourth quarter before C-A-M’s offense ignited.

A touchdown catch by DeShawn Carr followed by a Wolverine punt and then a Cougar drive capped by quarterback Thomas Hensley from 14 yards out trimmed the lead to 57-48 with less than three minutes to go.

On the ensuing kick off, the Cougars recovered the onside kick and Henlsey hooked up with Carr from 18 yards to cut it to 57-54. A successful two-point conversion left C-A-M trailing just 57-56 with 2:20 to go in the game.

Another Cougar onside kick, however, sailed out of bounds giving the ball back to the Wolverines. A Michael Schafer completion and then his third-and-one sneak secured a first down and the game. C-A-M had no timeouts remaining to stop the clock.

“If they had gotten that second onside kick, we’d have been in trouble because our defense was pretty tired at that point,” Schafer said.

The final score was higher than Schafer expected considering he didn’t know what to expect from his offense after a mixed bag of practice leading up to the game.

“I had no idea what was going to happen,” he said. “The kids played much better than anticipated. We struggled with the shotgun snap to start the week. But our center did a great job with that in the game. A lot of things just clicked into place.”

Schafer said C-A-M’s injury problems – four key starters were out due to injury – helped his team’s cause.

“That definitely hurt them, there’s no doubt about it,” Schafer said. “Their coaches were pretty down afterward. They thought they might be a playoff caliber type team this year and that’s probably gone down the drain now.”

The Cougars out-gained the Wolverines 510 to 395 but turned the ball over three times.

C-A-M’s Hensley finished with 488 total yards of his own throwing for 315 yards and rushing for 163 with seven total touchdowns.