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Karns City Uses Dominant Running Game to Topple Visiting Kane

KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Luke Garing split two tacklers. Bounced off another. Took a third for a ride before shedding him. Bowled over yet another.

By the time the the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Karns City senior reached the end zone, there was a slew of crumpled Kane defenders in his wake.

(Above photo, Luke Garing)

There’s just no stopping Garing when he gets a full head of steam.

And there’s no stopping the Gremlins’ football team when they are running the ball like they did Friday night against the Wolves in a 41-12 win at Diehl Stadium.

Garing did most of his damage early in the game, breaking off two long runs with his physical style. He scored on a 1-yard run, broke off a 33-yard punishing trip into the end zone, then added a 2-point conversion to boot to give Karns City a 15-0 lead in the first quarter.

He had another 38-yard run where he abused even more Kane defenders that set up a 5-yard TD run by Jayce Anderson that gave the Gremlins a 35-6 lead just before halftime.

“I’m glad he’s on our team,” said Karns City coach Joe Sherwin, grinning.

Everyone knows of Garing’s brute strength, but he also showed vision to find the hole and niftiness for a big man in the open field.

“He’s a little shifty and he has the knack of finding the right hole,” Sherwin said.

Garing finished the night with 81 yards on just five carries.

Anderson also did some damage for Karns City with two touchdown runs of his own. He led the Gremlins with 107 yards on nine carries.

Karns City gained 250 yards on the ground on only 26 attempts. Luke Cramer also scored on a 2-yard run for the Gremlins.

The passing game, though, was the focus for Karns City (6-1) early in this game.

Eric Booher completed three passes on the opening scoring drive that was capped by the 1-yard Garing TD. Later, he connected with Micah Rupp on a 31-yard touchdown that have Karns City a 22-0 advantage on the first play of the second second quarter.

Booher was efficient, completing 6-of-10 passes for 66 yards.

Rupp had five receptions for 63 yards.

“On film Kane jumped around a lot into different defenses, so we wanted to test the outside and see what they were able to do with that,” Sherwin said. “We wanted to work on the passing game because that’s going to be important going forward.”

So is pass defense and Karns City was able to shore up some of the problems that plagued it last week in a loss to St. Marys. In that game, Christian Coudriet threw for 407 yards and five TDs for the Dutch.

Kane (3-4) came into the game with a new quarterback in Ricky Zampagna, who was filling in for starter Harley Morris.

Zampagna acquitted himself well, completing 19 of 30 for 180 yards. He also ran for two scores, the first a 66-yard run in the second quarter that cut the Karns City lead to 28-6.

The Gremlins, though, were much better defending the pass this week. Part of that had to do with an improved pass rush; Karns City put constant pressure on Kane’s junior backup QB.

“That was a good test for us because we didn’t have a whole lot of success last week,” Sherwin said. “We worked on some things defensively and we still need to continue to work on things, but, hopefully, we’re progressing and getting better.

“We got on our D-line about making some moves once they engage,” Sherwin added. “They gottta make some kind of move once they realize it’s a pass. That’s what we were kind of focusing on.”

Rupp had a big night as well on defense for Karns City.

He broke up several passes and also ripped the ball out of the hands of Shane Ackley following a reception that put Kane deep into Karns City territory. Rupp returned the fumble to the Wolves’ 19, setting up Anderson’s 1-yard scoring run and a 28-0 lead.

Rupp has been battling an ankle issue since training camp.

“I think he’s just kind of getting into the form we want him to be,” Sherwin said. “He’s a dynamic and athletic player and he makes big plays for us.”

Karns City also cleansed its collective palate after the rotten taste of the first loss of the season last week.

Next week, the Gremlins make a long trip to Johnsonburg to take on Ridgway.

“We just have to make sure that even though it’s a long ride, when we get off that bus, we’re ready to play,” Sherwin said. “We can’t start slowly and expect to be able to win the game. We have to be ready as soon as we come off the bus.”