TALLMADGE - Senior quarterback Sam Seeker and senior running back Richie Eyre were a dynamic duo on the ground Friday night at Thomas Rossiaky Stadium.
Seeker and Eyre combined to rush for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils to a 34-21 win over visiting Coventry.
"We were physical up front," said Seeker, who rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. "We knew coming in that their line wasn’t the most physical and we had a great game plan. We looked at last year’s film and realized we did some things that we probably shouldn’t have done [in a 27-26 win at Coventry].
"We schemed much better this year. Credit to our coaches for putting us in the position to win."
Seeker and Eyre also are battery mates in baseball with Seeker pitching and Eyre catching. Both players helped Tallmadge win the Division II state championship in 2017 and reach the Division II state semifinals in 2018.
Seeker and Eyre powered the Blue Devils (2-1) past Coventry (1-2) Friday night behind offensive linemen Angelo Detorakis, Caleb Sowash, Michael Cornell, Ben Blankenship and Connor Franks and tight end Jason Grassie.
"We are playing great and this win gives us momentum going into Suburban League play," said Eyre, who rushed for 126 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.
Coventry seniors Andrew Arnold and Austin Hinzman were devastating through the air for head coach Ed Egan. Arnold completed 25 of 41 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns, with all three scores to Hinzman, who finished with 11 receptions for 182 yards.
Seeker broke free for a 68-yard touchdown run on Tallmadge’s third play from scrimmage and senior Garrett Ansley followed with the first of four extra point kicks to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, 35 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Arnold and Hinzman connected for two touchdown passes in the second quarter, covering 30 yards at 11:51 and 19 yards at 7:30. The duo also hooked up for a 38-yard completion one play before the second touchdown.
The Blue Devils answered each of Coventry’s second-quarter scores with one of their own. Junior Luke Thomas rushed 23 yards for a touchdown at 8:57 and Seeker crossed the goal line at 1:32 from 4 yards out as Tallmadge took a 21-14 halftime lead.
The final scoring drive of the half also featured a 4-yard carry by Eyre to convert a fourth and 4 to move the ball to the Comets’ 4-yard line.
The Blue Devils extended their lead to 34-14 in the third quarter when Eyre sprinted 76 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-2 play at 3:25 and Seeker ran 99 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback sneak up the middle with 13 seconds left.
Coventry concluded the scoring with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter when Arnold found Hinzman for a 32-yard touchdown and Lucas Baker made his third extra-point kick.
Tallmadge senior Nick Clingerman and junior Evan Teeling each grabbed an interception and junior Jesse Kanatzar had two sacks. Seniors Vinny Dao, Franks and Grassie and sophomore Nate Amato also were active on defense.
"We took care of the ball," Blue Devils head coach Alan Vanderink said. "The last two games we didn’t take care of the ball as well and it seemed like we did our assignments better than we did the last two games."