HOBART | Put boxing gloves on an octopus, step into the ring, and you'd better duck quick and often.
That was Hobart's big challenge against multi-faceted Mishawaka in Friday night's 4A Sectional semifinals.
Coach Ryan Turley's Brickies had to prepare for quarterback Sam Schrader (976 yards rushing, 17 TDs), halfbacks Matthew Carver and Angelo Multari -- with more than 500 yards each -- and fullback Tyler McDaniel (738 yards).
The onslaught was more than Hobart could handle as Schrader ran virtually untouched for 258 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-28 win.
"Speed. Power. He's got it all," said Hobart junior quarterback Andrew Barras, who completed 10-of-13 passes for 104 yards.
"This wasn't what anyone was expecting," said Turley, his team 3-8 a year ago. "We've changed the style of football here to hard-hitting Brickie football. They've been looking for this for years.
"But you're never happy unless you're in the Dome with a 'W.'"
The Cavemen (8-3) ran that flex bone triple option that gives defensive coordinators nightmares, despite having completed only 20 passes in their first 10 games.
Sam The Man didn't need to chuck it. McDaniel added 57 yards rushing and three TDs. Multari ran for 87 yards pushing the visitors to advance to play South Bend Washington for the sectional title.
Hobart was without split end/defensive back/punt return standout Anthony Burgos, who had been suspended one game for allegedly throwing a punch in the sectional opener at Kankakee Valley.
The Brickies (8-3), seeking their first sectional title since 1997 and the 20th overall, led 21-12 at the half highlighted by Ian Drobac's two rushing touchdowns and a defense that would make Brian Urlacher smile.
But the second half was all Mishawaka, which put it away with a 22-point fourth quarter.
"You see a lot of option out there and a lot of (defensive) responsibilities," Turley said. "If one guy misses ..."
Mishawaka regained the ball on a fake fourth-down punt early in the third quarter, followed by a Schrader TD. He scored again two minutes later, giving the Cavemen a 27-21 lead.
Hobart threatened but Preston Maxfield intercepted Barras in the end zone. The Brickies weren't through, however, as Dan Stewart recovered an onside kick at the Mishawaka 46. But facing 4th-and-2 at the 38, Drobac was stopped on a one-yard gain.
Alex Metz had 94 yards rushing for the Brickies and Drey Devereaux scored twice.