By Dave Morrison
NEW RICHMOND – What happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object?
As this paradox pertains to area football, that question will be answered Friday night when Shady Spring travels to Wyoming East.
Class AA No. 5 Wyoming East (5-0) has been that irresistible force, averaging nearly 260 yards per game rushing, behind junior running back Caleb Bower.
Class AA No. 12 Shady Spring (5-1) has been just as stingy on the defensive side of the ball giving up just over 81 yards per game rushing.
And that leaves the question can the irresistible force penetrate that immovable object.
Bower has been exceptional, with 119 carries for 891 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns (14 overall). He is averaging 7.5 yards per carry and 178.3 yards per game.
His touches have increased over the last three games and he owns 57 percent of the team’s carries. He has made the most of those opportunities, rushing for over 200 yards in the last three games, the only player in the area to accomplish that feat.
He went over 2,000 yards rushing for his career last week in his career-best 245-yard, five-touchdown performance against River View.
Bower has continually given his line credit, which all good running backs do, and the fact is the senior-laden line has performed at a high level.
On one memorable play, Tanner Jenkins played the role of a pulling left tackle and helped Bower to the end zone by taking out two players downfield.
Wyoming East has averaged 6.2 yards per carry as a team.
How good is the Shady Spring defense?
First of all, the Tigers have three shutouts in six games.
Against the run, the Tiger have been great.
The numbers are staggering. Shady Spring has given up just 490 yards on 187 attempts, an average of just 2.6 yards per carry.
Shady Spring held Independence sophomore Atticus Goodson, one of the area’s true breakout stars, to 35 yards and zero touchdowns.
Otherwise, Goodson has rushed for 968 yards in five other games, an average of 193.6 yards per game and 16 touchdowns.
Then there are the numbers against Nicholas, a common opponent. In a 22-18 win at Nicholas, Bower rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown, and two 2-point conversions. Nicholas beat the Tigers at Shady Spring 19-13 but the Grizzlies rushed for just 117 yards on 34 carries (3.4 yards per carry).
Less meaningful, yet worth noting, last season, in Shady Spring’s 35-0 shutout, the Tigers held Bower (who rushed for over 1,200 yards) to 61 yards on 17 carries. Wyoming East finished with 151 yards rushing.
Often in these games an unexpected element is the deciding factor.
That said, the numbers of the two quarterbacks, Shady Spring’s Drew Clark and Wyoming East’s Seth Ross, are similar.
Clark has completed 40 of 72 for 757 yards, and average of 18.7 yards per catch with eight touchdowns and three picks, and Ross has completed 49 for 94 passing for 728 yards, an average of 14.9 yards per catch with right touchdowns and three interceptions.
Irresistible force? Immovable object? That will be answered Friday night.