Pusch Ridge Christian Academy's Lions fumbled the ball the first two times they touched it Friday night, falling behind visiting Canyon State 14-0.
From there, the Lions couldn't be halted, moving to 5-1 on the season with a 45-14 victory. Pusch Ridge hosts Hayden on Friday night.
"We told them at halftime, we played our worst half of football," said Lions coach Bob Vance. "And yet we're tied at the half."
On their first play from scrimmage, quarterback Greg Schimke completed a pass to Tyler Vance, who lost the football at his own 38-yard line. That began the Marquis Greenwood show. Greenwood pounded the ball for 29 yards on the first three plays. He scored on a short run after Canyon State's Travis Beker was injured.
A Schimke interception – a rarity this season – halted a Pusch Ridge drive, and the Rams' Greenwood bolted 91 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
"We came out tight and didn't know what to expect," Bob Vance said. "We had a lot of dumb mistakes. Like, on one play not letting a kickoff roll out."
"We knew we needed to turn it on," said Tyler Vance. "We needed it (falling behind) to get fired up."
The Lions righted themselves in the second quarter. Starting a drive from their own 20, the Lions went 80 yards on five plays to get on the board, Brett Overstreet scoring on a long run. The extra point by Chad Springetti made it 14-7.
Before halftime, the Lions defense recovered a fumble at Canyon State 34-yard line. Several plays later, Schimke found Mitch Woody for 16 yards and a touchdown to make it 14-14.
The second-half kickoff was returned near midfield by Canyon State, with Springetti making a possible touchdown-saving tackle. Greenwood was soon halted.
"We knew we had to hit him low," said Tyler Vance. "We started making group tackles. When one guy would slip up, another would pick us up."
"In the second half, our defense stepped up," coach Bob Vance said. "Coach Mark Frithsen always makes good halftime adjustments."
The adjustments worked, as Greenwood was held to just 27 yards rushing on seven carries after the break. Greenwood finished with 228 yards on 24 carries. But the Lions defense forced six fumbles, intercepted two passes, and did not allow a completed pass all night.
In the third quarter, Schimke threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Vance, and after Springetti's conversion, the Lions had their first lead at 21-14.
Schimke found Vance for a 5-yard touchdown to make it 28-14. Interceptions by Christian Meisel and Aaron Vaughn set up two more scores. Springetti kicked a 29-yard field goal, and Woody caught a 51-yard touchdown pass to complete the scoring.
Schimke finished 18 of 26 for 262 yards, five touchdowns, and an interception. Vance caught five passes for 87 yards, while Cook caught five balls for 99 yards, and Woody also caught five for 64 yards. Overstreet led the Lions with 72 yards rushing on seven carries.