Playing in a driving rain on a field that appeared to get muddier by the moment didn't appear to bother top-ranked Hereford too much in last night's Class 2A North state playoff game against Edmondson.
The Bulls stuck with a running game the Red Storm couldn't stop. Cory Smith, Alex Butt and Ryan Asper ran for a combined 236 yards and five touchdowns as Hereford rolled to a 35-0 victory over visiting Edmondson.
Hereford (11-0) advanced to the second round. The Bulls, who are trying for a fourth state title since 1997, will meet the winner of tonight's Eastern Tech-Poly game next.
The Bulls developed more of a passing game this season in addition to their trademark running attack, but coach Steve Turnbaugh said the poor weather and a slow start in this game made keeping the ball on the ground the right strategy. It worked, as Smith (85 yards, two touchdowns), Butt (84 yards, two touchdowns) and Asper (67 yards, one touchdown) helped the Bulls control the game.
"These were tough conditions ... and the running game has come on in the last few weeks," Turnbaugh said. "The [weather] neutralized our passing game."
The Bulls didn't complete any passes but had 269 yards rushing. In addition, the Hereford defense shut down the Red Storm offense. Edmondson (7-4) finished with only 76 yards of total offense as the Bulls controlled play with a solid effort from their defensive line.
Joe Akers (three sacks), David Myrowitz, Anthony Phillips and Bill Rueter anchored that line.
"We know they're explosive and a bunch of playmakers," Akers said. "We wanted to just do our job and go three-and-out 90 percent of the time."
Hereford broke the game open with four touchdowns in the final 13 minutes of the first half for a 28-0 lead.
Matt Jones sparked Hereford by intercepting a Shawn Logan pass and returning it to the 16-yard line. Asper then gave the Bulls a 7-0 lead when he scored on a 13-yard run two plays later with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.
Akers recovered a fumbled snap on the next drive to give Hereford the ball at midfield. Two plays later, Butt broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run.
The loss was the final game of Edmondson coach Pete Pompey's 31-year career.
"They played hard tonight," Pompey said. "The weather was a big part of [the problem], but probably a bigger part of it was Hereford."