ADAMS TWP — Teddy Ruffner isn't supposed to be very fast. He's a catcher on Mars' varsity baseball team and often inflicts punishment on opposing defenses with his bruising running style.
But he put his speed to good use Friday night, with stunning results.
The junior running back scored five touchdowns — three coming from 88, 71 and 50 yards out — while piling up 327 yards on the ground in the Planets' 47-28 romp over visiting Greensburg Salem.
“He's got sneaky speed,” Mars coach Scott Heinauer said. “When he gets up on you, if you don't take the proper angle, he can break a long one.”
The first one of those came on Mars' third drive of the game. Already leading the Golden Lions, 14-7, Ruffner took a pitch to the right from quarterback Quinn Fuller, got to the edge and raced 88 yards. He picked up one final block just beyond midfield from tight end Mitchell Wright.
“I think I take a decent number of people by surprise with my speed because I'm more stalky than some guys,” said Ruffner. “Being in open space like that, seeing nothing but green in front of me, it's a great feeling.”
The Lions' chances were left in Ruffner's wake. They scored on their first drive of the game — a 1-yard run from quarterback Trent Patrick that tied the game at seven. Their next score did not come until late in the third quarter when the outcome had already been determined.
By haltime, Ruffner had 260 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries.
“The Wing-T is tough to simulate in practice,” said Greensburg coach Dave Keefer, “but we just did not play well defensively. We took bad angles and didn't tackle well. (Ruffner's) speed and strength had something to do with that, but we need to get better.”
Ruffner wasn't the only one with impressive runs for the Planets. Joe DeLuca put Mars up for good with a 16-yard scamper late in the first quarter. Senior Nick Spotti scored on a 65-yard run on the first play of the second half.
In all, Mars rushed for 519 yards thanks to holes opened up and blocks thrown by Sam Santoro, Dalton Becker, Chase Nesselroad, Gio Cuzzocrea, Michael Carmody and Wright.
The Planets (2-1) open Northern Conference play Friday by visiting Penn Hills. Friday's win gives the Planets a shot of confidence much-needed after a 36-14 loss to Moon.
“We're headed in the right direction,” said Heinauer.
At halftime, the Mars Athletic Hall of Fame's Class of 2019 was honored on the field. The inductees included Lily Grenci, Brian Hoffman, Matt Powell, Melanie (Nicklas) Hynden, Rob Carmody and Justin Piocquidio.
G'burg Salem 7 0 7 14 — 28
Mars 14 20 13 0 — 47
M — Teddy Ruffner 6 run (Blake Edwards kick), 7:07
GS — Trent Patrick 1 run (Wyatt Ramer kick), 2:19
M — Joe DeLuca 16 run (Edwards kick), :37
M — Ruffner 88 run (Edwards kick), 9:58
M — Ruffner 71 run (run failed), 4:18
M — Ruffner 19 run (Edwards kick), :29
M — Nick Spotti 65 run (Eli Wright kick), 11:42
GS — Aaren Putt 17 pass from Patrick (Ramer kick), 3:30
M — Ruffner 50 run (kick failed), 3:16
GS — Alexander Briggs 8 run (Ramer kick), 11:20
GS — Nico Williams 23 pass from Patrick (Ramer kick), 5:37
Rushing:Greensburg Salem, Patrick 13-68, Jalen Page 3-6, Putt 3-1, Briggs 16-110, TEAM 2-(-9). Mars, Teddy Ruffner 19-327, Nick Spotti 4-93, Joe DeLuca 2-19, Ben Chizmar 3-18, Christian Kay 3-(-9), Lance Bartley 6-37, Hayden Mayer 3-6, Colt Crofutt 1-0, Noah Nesselroad 4-30, TEAM 1-(-2).
Passing:Greensburg Salem, Patrick 14-26-198-1. Mars, Quinn Fuller 4-9-98-0.
Receiving:Greensburg Salem, Connor Moore 1-7, Cavan Trout 3-51, Page 3-38, Briggs 1-7, Ryan Thomas 3-42, Putt 1-17, Logan Smith 1-13, Williams 1-23. Mars, Ruffner 1-34, Mitchell Wright 1-30, Spotti 1-21, DeLuca 1-13.