EARLHAM — Woodward-Granger piled up over 600 yards of total offense in rolling over Earlham, 57-13, in their Class A District 7 meeting last Friday.
Marshall Nieland was the main culprit for W-G for the second consecutive week. Just seven days after carrying 45 times for 307 yards and two touchdowns against Martensdale-St. Marys, Nieland rumbled for 251 yards and five TDs on 28 rushes to bury Earlham. The senior is now second in Class A with 1,007 yards and 10 rushing TDs on 153 carries.
The Hawk defense surrendered 283 rushing yards to the Cardinals, but for the sixth consecutive week, refused to yield more than two scores as W-G improved to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in D7 play.
"We played a complete game for maybe the first time this year," W-G head coach George Ashman said. "I also liked that we kept our penalties down. I think we were flagged just four times and those were five-yard penalties, not holding or personal foul flags that can kill a drive or let the other guy keep the ball, so I was pleased by that."
Nieland wasted little time in announcing his presence, tearing off a 65-yard run on the fourth play of the game but having the ball stripped away at the Cardinal 10-yard line.
The Hawk defense held, and Nieland scored on a one-yard dive and added the PAT kick for a 7-0 lead just four-and-a-half minutes into the contest.
Earlham (2-4, 2-2) countered quickly, with Max Kasap busting loose for a game-tying 69-yard TD sprint just 20 seconds after the W-G score.
From that point on the Hawks dominated the first half, with Nieland scoring on a four-yard run and Tanner Canova pulling in a 67-yard scoring strike from Cole Ashman as the guests posted a 23-7 lead after one period.
A pair of Nieland one-yard TD dives surrounded a Canova eight-yard TD snag of an Ashman pass in the second quarter as the margin ballooned to 43-7 at the intermission.
"Marshall runs hard and is tough for one guy to bring down, but he would be the first to tell you we are getting good play up front," coach Ashman said. "Our guards — Dylan Nixon and Dyllan Rosenbaum — are playing very well. Center Ryan Hodges is playing well, too and tackles Lane Kooiker and Mason Burkhart are giving us the kind of play we thought they would give us. Add Canova in there at tight end and Michael Connor at fullback and that is a pretty good wall to run behind."
Derek Hensley stopped the continuous clock by scoring on an 11-yard run with 7:42 to play in the third quarter, but Connor stormed in from 23 yards away 62 second later to put the score at 50-13 and re-start the moving clock.
Nieland capped the scoring early in the fourth quarter by bursting through the line and dashing 22 yards into the end zone.
Connor added 72 yards on six runs and Race Brant 59 yards on five carries, with Nixon and Seth Noel each rushing once for five yards as the Hawks totaled 392 yards on the ground.
Cole Ashman hit on 9-of-10 passes for 217 yards and two scores and was intercepted once. He hit Canova four times for 143 yards, with Brant grabbing three passes for 45 yards and Nieland two tosses for 29 yards.
Kasap (16-147) paced Earlham on the ground, with Bryton Voss (5-56) and Branden Waldron (11-52) also key components for the hosts.
Hensley was 2-6-0 for 15 yards passing, hitting Voss for 12 yards and Canyon Hopkins for three yards.
Nixon led the W-G defense with 11 tackles, with Canova, Connor and Rosenbaum recording 10 stops apiece. The Hawks had 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage to help secure the win.
W-G hosts arch-rival Madrid tonight. The outcome is likely to determine who will join Audubon for the top two spots — and thus at least one home playoff game —in the district.