Not everyone gets second chances in life.
Garrett Trampler and Corey Stulz were elated to have second chances in last week’s state semifinal win over John Glenn.
Stulz threw an interception into double coverage in the first half against the Little Muskies. John Glenn took advantage and went up 14-7. He had another overthrow in the first half on a pass intended for a wide open Luke Richardson.
Later in the game, Stulz and center Jacob Treisch botched an exchange. Instead of potentially running out the clock and winning the game with little or no drama, the Massie defense had to return to the field and hold off the John Glenn offense.
In between those mistakes, Stulz was – as he has been all season – a model player and leader for the Falcons.
“Facilitate, that’s my main job, just making sure everyone is doing their job and deliver the ball when called upon,” said Stulz, the 6-1, 175-pound junior signal caller.
In today’s pass-happy game of football, quarterbacks have 30 or 40 chances to deliver the ball when called upon. Stulz has thrown 41 passes this season … in 14 games. The seven passes he attempted last week against John Glenn were a career varsity high.
So Stulz clear-headed demeanor must remain strong even though his opportunities are limited. And when he does get a chance to throw the ball, any mistake is magnified.
“Coach (Jeskee Zantene, the offensive coordinator) always says take it play to play,” Stulz said. “There’s nothing you can do about it as soon as it happens.”
In the final quarter, with 8:41 to play, Stulz put all the bad aside and calmly won the game for the Falcons. His pass over the middle to a streaking Richardson hit the Massie wideout in stride just beyond the line of scrimmage. As Richardson turned up field, gridiron paydirt was squarely in his sights and a leap at the 3 allowed him to touch down in the end zone and give Massie the lead for good.
“Coach (Zantene) has had that play in his back pocket, a big play in case we needed it,” Stulz said. “It makes it really easy when you have the offensive line we have. They always give me a great amount of time. Coaches are great getting me prepared.”
Trampler’s second and third chances came following that Richardson touchdown.
Early in the game, the sophomore punt returner mishandled a punt and gave the ball back to John Glenn. At the time, the Falcons had the lead, 7-0, and seemed poised to reel in the Little Muskies. But Trampler’s mis-play gave John Glenn the ball in good field position and they went on to score 14 unanswered points. The Muskies led 14-7 at the half.
“I wanted to get another chance,” Trampler said. “As a sophomore, I’ve never been in these high pressure situations. I just have to keep my cool and play the game I’ve played all year.”
Being one of the starting defensive backs, Trampler had plenty of chances against the Little Muskies to make amends.
Said Weston Trampler, Garrett’s brother, “They say as a corner you have to have a short memory. Him being a corner AND a punt returner, he has to let it go and play the next play like his life depends on it. I feel like he did that. I think we all did.”
After Massie went up 28-21 in the fourth quarter, Trampler made two big pass breakups to keep John Glenn off the scoreboard and secure the Falcons trip to Canton this week.
“Garrett’s a tough kid,” said Trey Uetrecht. “I didn’t have any doubt he was going to shake it off the next play.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports