Reinke sparks Mars victory

October 31, 2018 Cranberry Local Sports

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ADAMS TWP — Mars' offense was built for days like Friday.

With a persistent rain and gusty winds getting stronger by the minute, so did the Planets' ground game, which amassed 385 rushing yards en route to a 30-6 victory over visiting Hampton on Senior Night.

The Planets were paced by senior Garrett Reinke, who carried 29 times for 224 yards and two touchdowns. That put Butler County's leading rusher at 1,742 for the year, and moved him into fifth place on Mars' all-time rushing leader board.

“In a game like this, it's a little harder to make moves, so I just put my shoulder down and made sure I was protecting the ball and got every yard I could get,” Reinke said.

Reinke wasn't alone in that quest.

Sophomore Teddy Ruffner tacked on 92 yards on nine carries, while junior Drew Schlegel added 79 yards of his own. Reinke said that's a tribute to his team's offensive style and the offensive line.

“You can't focus on one player,” he said. “We all expect each other to make plays.”

It took Mars a while to get the offense going. After a 12-play drive on their first possession, the Planets were forced to punt, pinning the Talbots at their own 5. On the ensuing play, a bad snap and fumble was recovered by Hampton running back Vince Schmitt in the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 lead for Mars.

On the next drive, senior quarterback Tyler Kowalkowski was intercepted. On their next drive, Reinke ripped off a 65-yard run, the Planets later converted a fourth-down before Reinke capped the drive off with a 9-yard touchdown run.

Kowalkowski was again intercepted on the next drive, though Hampton gave the ball back via a fumble just three plays later. Though the Planets threatened just before the half, they couldn't capitalize and nursed a 9-0 lead into the locker room.

“We need to score more points in the first half,” said Scott Heinauer, Mars' head coach. “We just have to punch it in. If you're a good team, you need to make them pay.”

The Planets were also plagued by five illegal procedure penalties in the first half.

“That's something we need to take care of this week,” Heinauer said.

Mars opened the second half with an 11-play drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. It culminated on fourth down when Kowalkowski found senior Tom Sheehy from 20 yards out.

“In the second half, we did what we're supposed to do on the first drive and put a score in,” Heinauer said. “That's a statement for us.”

Reinke and Ruffner rounded out the scoring for Mars in the fourth quarter.

Though his offense lead the way, Heinauer was quick to credit the Planets' defense, which save for a 59-yard touchdown pass from Max Obenrader to Brandon Stephany last year in the game, held Hampton to 85 yards of offense.

“They played excellent,” Heinauer said.

The win propelled the Planets (9-1) to a home playoff game next week. Though details won't be made official until Monday, the prospect of hosting sat well with Heinauer following his team's victory.

“Getting on the bus and traveling all over Pennsylvania is tough,” he said. “I don't mind going to a neutral site, but it's nice to go to our own particular site.”

For Reinke, it's a chance to play one more home game in his career.

“I'm super happy to know we have another home playoff game for my senior year,” he said.

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