WEST SUNBURY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Eric Booher was finally free.
On Monday, the senior Karns City quarterback shed the cast that encased his right lower arm and wrist for the past month. The stress fracture prevented him from attempting a single pass for two weeks while under center.
The Gremlins won those games anyway with a punishing ground attack.
On Friday at rival Moniteau, Booher was finally able to let it rip, tossing three touchdown passes in a 35-6 win.
“It’s real exciting,” Booher said. “We’re real excited to get back throwing. I got my cast off Monday and went right into it. Felt way better.
“Having all the playmakers around me, you know, my best friends,” Booher added. “It’s awesome.”
Booher was 5 of 7 for 93 yards and touchdown passes of 7 and 43 yards to Micah Rupp and 18 yards to Cooper Coyle.
“I started to throw Tuesday and I had no pain,” Booher said. “It feels 100%, especially compared to the very first game of the season (against DuBois) when I played with it broken.”
It gave Karns City offensive coordinator Zach Kepple the chance to go beyond the first page of the playbook again.
Booher threw accurately and with some zip when called upon. He even had a 54-yard TD strike to Rupp called back by penalty.
In wins over Ridgway and St. Marys the last two week, Karns City ran the ball 110 times and attempted just one pass.
“It was a nice feeling. It was good news when we found out earlier in the week,” Sherwin said. “We were able to get victories the past couple of weeks, but I don’t think that’s something we can sustain the rest of the season and still be successful.”
Things, though, couldn’t have started worse for Karns City.
The Gremlins fumbled the opening kickoff with Colton Thomas jumping on it for Moniteau at the Karns City 35.
The Warriors’ drive stalled at the Gremlin 15, however.
After a three-and-out by Karns City, Moniteau marched 53 yards on 13 plays, capped by a 1-yard sneak by quarterback David Dessicino for a 6-0 lead.
Karns City again fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Moniteau was able to drive to the Gremlin 27 before stalling again.
Karns City only ran three offensive plays in the first quarter.
In inability to score more than six points out of that early sequence came back to haunt Moniteau.
“Capitalizing on those turnovers would have been huge,” said Moniteau coach Bob Rottman. “We were down there, that second time, too, and I was preaching to the kids after the game that mistakes cost us big time. We have to play clean football.”
Karns City (3-2) was able to weather that storm and cracked the scoreboard on a 44-yard touchdown run by Cooper Coyle with a little more than nine minutes on the clock in the second quarter.
The Gremlins added to their lead on a perfect fade pass from Booher to Rupp a little less than five minutes before the half to make it 14-6 after two quarters.
Karns City still only ran 18 offensive plays in the first half.
“It was not the way we wanted to start,” said Karns City coach Joe Sherwin. “We can’t start that way. We have to protect the ball better than what we did. But our defense was able to hold them and that was big. If they would have scored on those opportunities, it could have been a different game.”
Karns City got a 3-yard touchdown run by Nate Garing to take a 21-6 lead in the third quarter and then Booher broke the game open with his arm with TD passes to Coyle and Rupp in the fourth.
Rottman knew Booher was going to be able to throw coming into the game.
There are no secrets when it comes to Moniteau and Karns City.
“Let’s be honest. It’s a small area. We knew he was coming out without a cast on,” Rottman said. “These kids know each other. We all have family members in Karns City and they have family members in Moniteau. Yeah, we knew. No surprise there.
“It surprised me how accurate he was after not throwing for that long,” Rottman added. “He did a great job. He was dropping dimes. He was accurate. I was hoping he’d be a little rusty.”
Booher certainly wasn’t.
His freedom also meant Rupp could run free again.
The big-play senior, who had played the last two weeks as a blocking tight end, was able to run deep routes again and excelled. He caught three passes for 58 yards and the two scores.
Coyle also had a standout game both running and receiving. He had a 50-yard run that set up the Garing TD and finished with 93 yards on just five carries. He also hauled in two passes for 34 yards.
Booher also added 58 yards on the ground for Karns City.
There were some bright spots for the Moniteau (1-4); The Warriors were able to move the ball.
Hunter Stalker rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries,. Logan Campbell rushed for 44 yards and also caught seven passes for 42 yards.
“When you sit back and think of games like this, you think of the missed opportunities, the mistakes that you make,” Rottman said. “You’re that close. Yeah, it’s 35-6, but you’re that close. The little things add up and they kill you.”