ERIE — When a football team averages about 10 yards per carry through four quarters of a single contest, one just has to assume talent at the running back position isn't the only reason.
And although every single one of the stable of Erie running backs can do different things, as they displayed in a 41-0 rout of Berthoud on Friday night, there was enough praise to go around for the Tigers offensive line.
Yes, Gavin Sackett, Cole Knudsen, Jonathon Phouminh, Max Parr and Matthew Cavin got their due respect after the Tri-Valley League opening victory at Tigers Stadium.
All told, Erie rushed for 340 yards on 37 carries — from nine different players — to improve to 5-1 overall on the season.
"No matter if the defense puts more in the box, we're just going to put a couple more blockers in and shove it down their throats," Erie's Noah Roper said after gaining 126 yards and two touchdowns. "I think we did that tonight, showed what could do, and played together as a team."
"We have a lot of depth at running back, and that's so important to have when injuries start to creep in, but the offensive line ... man, we ran a tight-in formation the whole game and I was just really proud with how they blocked," EHS coach Chad Cooper said. "The line puts Noah and the rest of the guys in good position to do great things a lot of the time."
Looking to rebound from a tough loss to Silver Creek — the Raptors keep winning, by the way — Erie did just that as it now will turn its attention to Holy Family next week.
Despite two interceptions and a muffed punt in the first half, Erie still had a 21-0 lead through two quarters thanks to a pair of TD tosses from Ruben Portillo — both to Quintin Hyrup (37 and 24 yards). The EHS defense also recovered a pair of fumbles and had an interception by halftime.
While Portillo didn't have to test the air much more in the second half, the Tigers still moved the ball well a handful of times. And all you need to know about Roper was spelled out in a 53-yard TD run late in the third quarter — a play in which he shed a tackle at the line of scrimmage and then danced around and through a couple more would-be tacklers before bursting free to open space.
"Sometimes he runs out of where we want him to run, but you just have to accept it because he does some things not everyone can do," Cooper said.
Roper led the charge but Joshua Cobb (57 yards) followed suit with the not-going-down-easy mentality. Even reserves Adrian Rincon and Sean-Tyler Curell had carries for double-digit yardage.
Defensively, the Tigers well bent on stopping the run and allowed BHS (1-5, 0-1) just 70 yards on the ground. The Spartans knocked on the door a couple of times but stumbled when they had chances to score points at all.
David made one of the biggest plays defensively with just a few seconds to go before halftime, reading a true option play correctly and wrestling down Wyatt Woodrick for a 5-yard loss on a 4th-and-1 from the Erie 13.
"We just stuck to our plan, and at halftime we made the changes we needed to make to keep them down," said junior lineman Cameron Marcucci. "Everybody's minds are on the Holy Family game now."
Erie 41, Berthoud 0
At Tigers StadiumBerthoud (1-5, 0-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Erie (5-1, 1-0) 14 7 14 13 — 41
Erie — Ryley Deckert 8 run (Julian Custine kick). Erie — Quintin Hyrup 37 pass from Ruben Portillo (Custine kick).
Erie — Hyrup 24 pass from Portillo (Custine kick).
Erie — Noah Roper 4 run (Custine kick). Erie — Roper 53 run (Custine kick).
Erie — Thimaphon Kan 1 run (pass failed).
RUSHING — Berthoud: Wyatt Woodrick 10-31, Brock Voth 8-8, Ty Beaman 5-33, Jake Yuska 1-(minus-1), Daniel Pelphrey 1-(minus-1). Erie: Noah Roper 11-126, Joshua Cobb 9-57, Trevor David 6-24, Ryley Deckert 4-35, Ruben Portillo 2-32, Thimaphon Kan 2-8, Nathan Hahn 1-3, Adrian Rincon 1-34, Sean-Tyler Curell 1-14.
PASSING — Berthoud: Voth 18-25-1-163, Beaman 3-9-1-20. Erie: Portillo 7-15-2-153, Kan 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Berthoud: Ryan Schmad 7-78, Yuska 4-33, Pelphrey 2-16, Woodrick 2-16, Anthony Trojahn 5-34. Erie: Quintin Hyrup 4-79, N. Roper 1-35, Hunter Cremers 1-29, Zach Roper 1-10.