Constantine’s football players must have really wanted to hurry up and get on that homecoming dance floor Friday. With the Falcons’ offensive line opening up holes the size of bay doors on a delivery dock, the home team finished off Hackett Catholic Central for a 49-7 victory with a running clock.
Running, the team’s identity, helped inflate a 49-0 cushion at halftime before reserves were called on to finish the contest. Quarterback Matt Hasbrouck dashed for a team-high 120 yards and two rushing touchdowns, Andres Montoya ran for 89 and three scores, Justin Hull registered 99 yards and a TD and Taylor Reiff crossed the goal line.
But it was his team’s defensive effort that put a smile on Griffith’s face. The Falcons (4-2) pinned down a Hackett squad, one that showed it was capable of moving the ball fairly well the previous five weeks, for only 140 yards of total offense and nine first downs.
“I think we made some strides tonight, especially defensively,” he said. “We came off the ball; our kids were very aggressive. We’re getting there.”
Ultimately, “there” is the playoffs. Anything less would be a major disappointment for a program boasting back-to-back trips to Ford Field and the Division 6 state championship game. But Griffith’s desire in the season’s second half was to see better leadership, something that isn’t always a given when classes cycle in and out.
Offensive guard/right defensive tackle Alex Miller said there’s been a noticeable difference in that department, as well as a lack of panic considering there’s little room for error over the next three games.
“He’s been driving that home,” Miller said of Griffith’s message this past week. “We just use pressure as our motivation. I feel that we had very big heads at the beginning of the season. The first two losses were a big wake-up call.”
Then again, running the ball at will takes care of a lot of other issues.
Constantine piled up 366 yards and seven touchdowns against the Fighting Irish (2-4). The Falcons were able to control the ball on long drives as well as deliver haymakers. Hull scored from 51 yards and Tefft and Montoya each added 25-yard TDs.
“There are plays that work but it’s not the kind of blocking we need,” said Montoya, who was pleased with the improvement but is convinced the Falcons have only scratched the surface. “Our minds haven’t been right. We’re just now starting to get there. I think as the weeks go on we’ll get better and better.”
Kicker Tristian Butler hit all seven point-after attempts in his varsity debut, providing a sure foot at a position Constantine didn’t use much the previous five weeks.