Luther scores five times as Lake rips Green

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By Josh Weir

Canton Repository

LAKE TWP.  Weapons cover the field for the Lake High School football team.

Dan Reed, Logan Wartman and Wes Wilson provide speed and skill at receiver and defensive back. Strong, aggressive lines command the trenches, while hard-hitting athletes such as fullback Josh Landis and linebacker Corey Paulino roam the field looking for collisions.


And, of course, there is the big gun, Jim Luther.

The barrel still was smoking after Lake routed Green on Friday night, 44-14, at Lake Blue Streak Stadium.  

Luther scored four first-half touchdowns — three rushing and one on a key 67-yard fumble return — and five overall as the Blue Streaks seemed to do whatever they wanted in kicking off their 2010 season in style.

Lake intercepted Green four times and didn’t punt until the final seconds of the third quarter.

Head coach Jeff Durbin has plenty of playmakers at his disposal, and the Lake staff knows how to use them.

“You know everybody expects Jimmy to make plays, but Danny Reed, Logan Wartman, ... Corey Paulino,” Durbin said, rattling off a roll call.

“I thought Josh Landis ran really well. And the guys up front don’t get as much credit as they deserve. We got some guys who are capable of making big plays.”

Luther showed his complete arsenal of moves, from bouncing off defenders and breaking arm tackles to doing what he does best — run by people.

A 1,320-yard rusher last year as a junior, Luther finished with 161 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries in about 2 1/2 quarters of action. Luther’s scoring runs covered 12, 13, 46 and 37 yards.

Practice makes perfect.

“He runs the ball 40, 50 yards every time he touches it in practice,” Durbin said. “He’s got vision and toughness. And, of course, he’s fast. I think our guys love playing with him.”

And he with them.

“I love my line,” Luther said. “I didn’t like it; I loved my line tonight.”

The work upfront by Sean Hemlick, Rion Ropchock, Sam Rutledge, Justice Karmie and Mykal O’Brodo — along with Landis and tight end Dylan Seibel — made the night seem quite easy for Lake.

“It didn’t seem all that easy,” Durbin said. “But we just made big plays. ... I think we’re more closely matched (with Green) than the score would indicate.”

Green head coach Tom Stacy would agree.

“They are not 30 points better than us,” Stacy said. “There is no way they are that much better than us. But you’ve got to go out and play.”

If there can be a pivotal moment in a 44-14 game, it happened with 4:38 left in the first quarter.

Green was driving to answer Lake’s scoring drive to open the game. Wilson stripped a Green receiver on a reception in the flat. Luther simply snagged the loose ball off the field turf and jetted 67 yards for a back-breaking score, putting Lake up, 13-0.

Green never was the same. After Lake linebacker Mason Stephens leapt and knocked down a fourth-down pass on the ensuing series, Luther was soon scoring on the other end through a gaping hole.

That TD was set up by junior quarterback Jon Spohn hitting Wartman on a 44-yard pass. Wartman finished with two receptions for 80 yards. Spohn completed 4-of-5 passes for 128 yards.

A play after Reed’s first of two interceptions in the first half, Luther took a toss right, cut up and sprinted 46 yards to put Lake up, 30-0, with 4:51 left in the first half.

Wilson and Paulino added interceptions in the second half, with Paulino returning his 71 yards for a second defensive TD.

Green QB Jon Cundiff was taken to the hospital after an undisclosed injury in the first half.

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