GARRETT – There is Blitz, minding his own business on the sideline of Friday’s game at Garrett with Churubusco in town.
He looks up just in time to see a running back pulling away from Railroaders defenders for a touchdown.
There goes Fulk again, Blitz thinks, before realizing the player is not donning the familiar No. 20 of Fulk.
Rather, it was Gage Kelly with the 55-yard touchdown run that put the Eagles up by 26 points just 18 seconds into the third quarter.
Churubusco’s eventual 40-22 win over Garrett showcased just how good the duo of Fulk and Kelly are. They combined for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Fulk entered Friday as the leading rusher in the entire state and eclipsed the 700-yard mark on the year in just three games.
Leading up to the season, Eagles coach Paul Sade made no secret about where his team’s strength would lie in 2019. It was Fulk and Kelly, two players who had shown signs in years past, but were primed for breakout senior seasons.
The two have delivered, but are two completely different runners.
At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Fulk is a punishing runner, delivering more of a blow to prospective tacklers than they give to him. He earns tough yardage but has enough quickness to shoot through an open hole or cut upfield when he sees an opening when running to the edge.
Meanwhile, Kelly is a speedster at 5-10, 165 pounds. When he broke into the open field on Friday night against Churubusco, he was as good as gone. He can fight for an extra yard or two, but he is at his best when he can make a tackler or two miss or put his foot in the ground and change direction.
Combined, the two are responsible for 94 percent of Churubusco’s rushing yards this season.
At 3-0 and ranked in Class 1A, Churubusco has visions of winning the NECC’s small school division for the third straight year. With the rushing duo they have, it is going to be tough for anyone to challenge the Eagles.
Yup, it is easy to ascertain just what makes Churubusco so good, which could also lead to its downfall.
Blitz foresees no team in the NECC truly shutting down the Eagles’ star duo. But when you look at Sectional 44, could Southwood be a team physical enough in its defensive front seven to limit Fulk and Kelly? Could an undefeated Adams Central team continue to mature and improve, posing a threat in sectional play?
Churubusco is most definitely focused on getting to 4-0 next week, but there is a lot of downtime during the week for Blitz to ponder things.
On the one hand, the Eagles are torching opposing teams in spite of the opponents knowing exactly what they need to do to win – slow down Kelly and Fulk. Thing is, they can’t do it.
But if a future opponent can limit the run offense from the two seniors, what then? Can the Eagles grind out a win with some timely plays from its D? Can quarterback Sam Wood, who has shown the ability to move the chains with his arm, make the consistent plays passing to knock off a quality foe?
These are questions that the next six weeks may help answer. Or, as Blitz believes, it is a query that will not be answered until the postseason.
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