Not against a Capital defense that has shut out two of its past four opponents.
With Tyler Sundberg running for four touchdowns for the third week in a row, Capital made a good team look bad, cruising to a 51-0 victory at Ingersoll Stadium to advance to the quarterfinals of the 3A state playoffs.
“Our line was opening up some huge holes,” Sundberg said. “Our passing game also helped open up the run.”
Capital, which improved to 11-0, has outscored its past four opponents 231-15, shutting out two of them, including the Quakers, who came in averaging 38 points a game.
The Cougars clobbered Nathan Hale, 43-7, last week in their playoff opener.
“I was worried about their offense. They can score quick,” Capital coach J.D. Johnson said. “But we started dialing up some pressure. We wanted to put pressure on their quarterback.”
Sundberg rushed for 206 yards on 26 carries, averaging 7.9 yards per carry.
“They loaded up the box in the beginning to stop the run,” Johnson said. “Our linemen had to figure who they were blocking, and they got it figured out.”
Capital advances to the quarterfinals and will next play O’Dea. The Cougars defeated the Fighting Irish, 28-0, in the season opener for O’Dea’s only loss. The game will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Johnson said. “They’re a great team.”
After punting on its first possession, Capital scored on its next three series, putting together scoring drives of 78, 82 and 75 yards.
Capital overcame three major penalties to score its third touchdown, a 5-yard run by Sundberg. On a second-and-20, Alex Everson faked a pitch to Sundberg and raced 21 yards for a first down to highlight that scoring drive.
Late in the second quarter, Capital cornerback Roman Vern intercepted a pass over the middle and raced 12 yards untouched for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead with 1:43 left in the second quarter. Linebacker Jay Maiava leveled Franklin quarterback Robert Calloway on the play, forcing the interception.
Vern made Franklin’s defense pay for focusing on Sundberg. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior rushed for 62 yards on three reverse plays, busting loose for runs of 33, 12 and 17 yards in the first half.
On the final play of the first half, Capital’s senior defensive back Nick Wynn intercepted a deep pass and zigzagged up field, returning it 35 yards before getting tackled at the Franklin’s 25.
Capital had a 273-65 edge in total offense by halftime, running up a 28-0 lead.
On Capital’s first possession, the Cougars gambled and went for a first down on a fourth-and-2 near midfield. Sundberg took the pitch from Everson and picked up 5 yards for a first down. But a penalty negated the play, forcing Capital to punt.
Capital needed only one play to score in the second half. Facing a first-and-25 after a holding penalty, Everson threw a 57-yard touchdown strike to Vern, who caught the perfect spiral at the 15, hesitated to elude a tackler and raced untouched into the end zone for a 35-0 lead.
Franklin, which was giving up just 11.0 points a game, never got over midfield and finished with a minus-12 yards in rushing. The Quakers, who lost to O’Dea, 35-13, two weeks ago, finished the season at 8-3.
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 email@example.com