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Carmel's triple option runs rampant
By Patricia Babcock McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/7/2010 1:16 AM

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An interesting storyline prior to Saturday's Class 7A playoff game between Carmel and visiting Rockton Hononegah was that both teams ran the same offense.

The triple option.

Carmel coach Andy Bitto said that the teams' offenses were literally mirror images of each other.

Well, maybe he meant on paper.

Because what unfolded at Carmel's Baker Stadium was more like a case of "Good Twin versus Evil Twin."

While Rockton Hononegah's triple option offense sputtered, stalled and downright died on many possessions, Carmel's triple option offense zipped all over the place like a well-oiled Mercedes on the Autobahn.

Not surprisingly, third-seeded Carmel cruised to a 42-6 second-round victory over No. 6 Hononegah in a game that featured a running clock for the entire second half.

The Corsairs, who move to 10-1 on the season and will face No. 2 St. Rita (10-1) next week in the quarterfinals, were up 42-0 at halftime.

"It starts off with our offensive line. They're big kids and they dominated up front," said Carmel running back Brian Brennan, who scored 2 touchdowns and rushed for 65 yards on just 3 carries. "We come out 110 percent all the time. That's how we play."

The Corsairs rolled up 334 rushing yards on just 38 total carries for a team average of 8.8 yards per carry.

Five of their six touchdowns came on runs of 25 yards or more.

"Our running game is effective because our line is pushing them back and then we've got kids who can run really fast," Bitto said with a smile.

"We had a great week of practice, so I knew we were prepared to play. And when our quarterback makes good decisions, it's hard to stop us. Brian (Serio) was making great decisions for us tonight."

Prior to the game, Serio was trying to decide if he could stomach so much physical activity. Literally.

Bitto says Serio was nauseous from a case of food poisoning and wasn't feeling well. Then again, that didn't stop him from running for 2 touchdowns (60 yards and 37 yards) and a team-high 119 yards.

"He's sick. He was about ready to puke," Bitto said of Serio. "But he didn't look like it when he ran."

Instead, Serio and the rest of the Corsairs made Hononegah sick.

The Indians, who close out the season with a 9-2 record, were disgusted with the fact that their version of the triple option just couldn't keep up.

They finished with 127 rushing yards but got just 39 in the first half against Carmel's wickedly stingy first-string defense, which is allowing just 10.8 points per game.

After halftime, Carmel played mostly reserves.

"Carmel is a very physical team on both sides of the ball," said Hononegah coach Tim Sughroue, whose team finally got on the board with 4:10 remaining when running back Dale McGirk capped off an 80-yard, 11-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. "They've been good for a long time down here because they've got dedicated coaches and kids. It's a great program."

Carmel also got a big night out of senior fullback Jordan Kos, who scored the first touchdown of the game on a 38-yard run with 7:03 left in the first quarter, and finished with 2 touchdowns and 90 rushing yards on just 9 carries.

"We rep our plays a lot to get everything nice and crisp," said Kos, trying to explain the offense's domination. "A lot of it is the coaches. They study the other teams real hard and they teach us what we're supposed to do with the blocking assignments and all that, and we just go out there and do it."