We’re on to you, Shawn Griffith. That whole 5-4 business in the regular season was just to throw everyone off Constantine’s scent. Or maybe the Falcons are simply doing what they did the previous two seasons — peaking in the playoffs.
Constantine thrashed host Hillsdale Friday night 56-14 to claim its fifth consecutive district title and improve to 7-4. Behind an offensive line that dominated the entire contest, the Falcons rushed for 429 yards, finished with 459 total yards of offense and stymied the Hornets (7-4), which managed just 253 yards of total offense.
Fullback Taylor Reiff ran for 216 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Falcons, and Andres Montoya (45 yards) and quarterback Matt Hasbrouck (127) each added a pair of rushing scores. By the time the smoke cleared at halftime, Constantine had a 42-7 lead.
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“We got things going early and didn’t slow down a whole lot,” said Griffith, whose team will take on undefeated and fourth-ranked Clinton, which topped Grass Lake 39-14, in the regional finals. “We struggled a little bit early defensively, but made some adjustments. I thought our kids kind of put the clamps down on them. What we were able to do offensively … that’s the best we’ve played offensively all year.”
Reiff finished off Constantine’s first scoring drive in the first and second quarters with seven- and 69-yard TDs. Both of Montoya’s touchdowns came in the first quarter. Reiff added a 40-yarder in the second frame, Hasbrouck found the end zone from three yards out in the third quarter and busted free for a 94-yard score in the fourth. Reiff finished things off with an 18-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
“Our front line had done a great job of being able to adapt to whatever the defense is running against us,” Griffith said. “We tend to be a pretty physical group of kids. The effort and drive of these kids is hard for other teams to match.”
It’s also hard to make any semblance of a comeback through the air when Montoya and Jeremiah Schrock are on the field. Hillsdale entered the game having thrown just one interception through 10 contests. Montoya snagged two and Schrock added another Friday.
But it was certainly a group effort defensively, with middle linebacker Zach Sherman leading the way with 12 total tackles (five solo). Bruce Heslet finished with seven tackles and Montoya and Tyson Baldwin each had six.
“[Reiff] has had a big playoffs,” Griffith said. “He’s starting to figure some things out. He’s never played the fullback spot for us; he’s always been at halfback. [Sherman] has really started to play. He’s getting confidence with what he’s doing. He was usually an outside linebacker-type of kid for us growing up. We’ve moved him inside and he’s adjusted well.
“[Montoya] had an excellent game. Andres has become the corner that we had hoped.”