Stopping Missouri Western’s running game looked unattainable against Washburn after beating the Ichabods 56-28 on Saturday, Nov. 3, at Spratt Stadium.
It was senior day for the 22 seniors, and the team made it a game to remember.
“I thought we played well,” coach Jerry Partridge said. “We did not execute in the passing game as well as the running game, but we didn’t feel like they could hold up against our zone running game, and they didn’t.”
The fireworks started when quarterback Travis Partridge ran for a 5-yard touchdown run with eight minutes left in the first quarter. The touchdown was the first of Partridge’s three rushing scores.
Partridge connected with Tyron Crockom on a 45-yard touchdown that resulted in the only passing score and gave the Griffons a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
After the defense continued to pound on the Ichabods offense, running back Mike Hill started to pick away at the defense as he broke off a 36-yard touchdown run, giving the Griffons a 21-0 lead ending the first quarter.
“He can do it all,” coach Partridge said. “He is running well, and he is running away from people. We need Michael Hill on offense.”
The second quarter started with more dominance from Hill and the running game. The offense continued to makes plays down the field by utilizing the run game as well as the passing, ending another drive with a 3-yard touchdown run from Hill.
The defense held the Ichabods scoreless, 28-0, until halfway through the second quarter.
Running back Hayden Groves outran the Griffons on a 71-yard scamper. The Ichabods defense stopped the Griffons and were able to push out another score before halftime, making the score 28-14.
“We did have a bad stretch late in the first half,” coach Patridge said. “They popped that big run on us after they saw our safeties were in the box. It made us gameplan at halftime, and we came out and answered the call and got after them in the second half.
Western’s defense, led by senior David Bass, raised the intensity by staying strong after the two touchdowns from Washburn (7-3, 7-3 MIAA). Bass came up with a big sack for a loss that gave the momentum back to the Griffons (9-1, 8-1).
“We had a couple of busted plays that allowed them to get two scores on us,” Bass said. “But our mindset never changed. We just trusted in our offense. We had to fix some minor problems and bounce back.”
Bass finished the game with seven tackles, two resulted in a loss and one sack. From there on, the defense bullied the Ichabods offense and left the rest for Hill.
The running game was just too much for the Washburn defense, and Hill ended up having a career day.
He finished the game with 259 yards and three rushing scores off of 26 carries. Hill was only 25 yards shy from breaking the single game rushing record, but he was able to break the school’s single season rushing record with 1,688 yards.
“I honestly think that we have the best back in the nation right now,” Bass said. “I would take [Hill] over anybody, in any level. It doesn’t surprise me when he puts up the numbers he does. We don’t need to pass the ball.”
After three quick running scores put the Griffons up 56-14, it was time to give Hill and other starters a rest. Backup running backs Dominic Thomas and Raphael Spencer racked up some yards while running the clock with Spencer also rushing for a 20-yard touchdown.
The final touchdown marked it 56-28, and the Griffons were satisfied with the win. However, they know next week brings a new challenge as they face their rival Northwest Missouri State (9-1, 8-1) next week, with the outright MIAA championship on the line.
“We are a well-coached group,” offensive lineman Nick Clark said. “Our team chemistry is good, and I feel that if we continue to do our jobs, you will continue to see displays like today for the rest of the season.”