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Defense and running game spur Rockie win

IvanPLYMOUTH — At this point in the football season it’s about living to fight another day, and while there were not a lot of offensive style points in the middle of the game Plymouth’s Rockies live to fight another day with a 28-12 win over South Bend St. Joe.

“Our defense was really big tonight,” said Plymouth coach John Barron. “We’ve been talking about how defense wins championships. I know it’s a cliche but it held true tonight.”
St. Joe won the toss and deferred to the second half and once again it proved a risky thing to do with Plymouth’s offense. The Rockies found themselves ahead 7-0 just four plays later when Ivan Winkle punched in his first of three scores on the night with a 2 yard run.
On the next possession Seth Rundell took a pass in the flat from Joe Barron for 81 yards and a second score and just seven minutes in it seemed Plymouth would be off to the races.
St. Joe had other ideas.
“It was a team win,” said Barron. “We were solid on our special teams, we were solid on defense. It was a strange night for the offense. I think we scored 14 points in the first three minutes and 14 points in the last three minutes.”
“In between they found some things out,” he said. “They have some good players.”
Defensive adjustments for the Indians in the first half gave them enough to hold the Rockies out and keep themselves in the game until finally just before half Matt Eck stood in the pocket under tremendous pressure and threw a strike to Patrick Driscoll for six.
“On that first touchdown we had Joe Styers right in his face and he just sidearmed it 25 yards right on the money for the score,” said Barron. “He was a kid that we knew wasn’t going to run around much he was going to try to do it with his arm.”
Eck was able to hang in under constant pressure from Styers and Nick Craft and on the first drive of the third quarter stood in again and rifled another shot to Driscoll to put his team with in two at 14-12.
But even though the Indians held the ball for nearly 30 minutes of the game the Plymouth defense met every challenge to give their offense a chance to take control of the game.
“They were good,” said Barron of St. Joe. “We tried to throw some bubble screens that looked open before the snap and then you throw it and there were three guys right there. They were the most talented group of kids that we played that had a negative record.”
“They were physical on defense,” he said. “We scored two early and then we had some negative plays and it was ebb and flow, and they get in a rhythm and we’re only up one score for a major part of that game. They didn’t allow us to get in any kind of rhythm at all.”
Until the fourth quarter.
Some key catches by Joe Styers and Seth Rundell gave some momentum but it was the running game — particularly Ivan Winkle — that was the difference at the end. The turn around started with a big run from an unlikely source. Joe Barron somehow found a way out of the pocket on a big third down play to pick up a key first down.
“If we have to punt there it’s big, we’re still only up one score,” said Barron.
From there the Rockies turned it over to their running back.
“Ivan is a kid that we have holes and directions that he specifically goes to,” said Barron. “But he’s a kid you don’t really coach, you just hand him the ball and let his natural ability and vision and toughness take over, and let him go north and south.”
Winkle ended the night with 131 yards rushing and three touchdowns the last two letting Plymouth take control of the game and give themselves some breathing room.
He, along with fellow safety Arturo Valdez added back breaking interceptions to seal the win.
Plymouth is now 9-2 and will play for the sectional championship Friday at New Prairie in a 7:30 p.m. start.
at Plymouth
St Joe 0 6 6 0 – 12 Plymouth 14 0 0 14 – 28

Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter
09:30 PLYM – Ivan Winkle 2 yd run (Adrian Cardona kick)
05:08 PLYM – Seth Rundell 81 yd pass from Joe Barron (Adrian Cardona kick) 2nd Quarter
07:35 SBSJ – Driscoll 20 yd pass from Eck (Rios kick blockd)
3rd Quarter
08:20 SBSJ – Driscoll 17 yd pass from Eck (Anglin rush failed)
4th Quarter
05:01 PLYM – Ivan Winkle 8 yd run (Adrian Cardona kick)
03:06 PLYM – Ivan Winkle 18 yd run (Adrian Cardona kick)

RUSHING: SB St Joe-Driscoll 8-57, Anglin 9-23, Eck 4-minus 14. Plymouth-Ivan Winkle 18-131, Seth Rundell 1-25, Blake Davis 3-4, Joe Barron 5-minus 19. PASSING: SB St Joe-Eck 20-41-3-163. Plymouth-Joe Barron 20-31-1-237. RECEIVING: SB St Joe-Driscoll 12-129, Anglin 3-27, Garcia 2-13, Wesson 1-2, Underly 1-minus 2, Driscoll 1-minus 6. Plymouth-Seth Rundell 10-147, Jake Reichard 4-40, Joe Styers 3-37, Ivan Winkle 2-13, Garr Schrameyer 1-0. INTERCEPTIONS: SB St Joe-Driscoll 1-2. Plymouth-Ivan Winkle 1-12, Arturo Valdez 1-3, Joe Styers 1-0. FUMBLES: SB St Joe-Eck 2-0, Garcia 1-0. Plymouth-Garr Schrameyer 1-1, Joe Barron 1-0.
Tackles: Plymouth-Jake Reichard 6-1, Joe Styers 2-6, Seth Rundell 4-1, Nicholas Craft 4-1.