UNION TOWNSHIP | Wheeler scored on its first possession against Bishop Noll, and its defense made sure that was the only score the Bearcats needed.
The Bearcats limited the Warriors to 13 yards of total offense, including -41 on the ground, as Wheeler grinded out a 21-0 win in Greater South Shore Conference action on Friday.
“Coach (Robert) Ochs is the defensive coordinator, and he’s got these boys playing really well,” said Wheeler coach Tony Klimczak. “We stuck to the basic gameplan and asked our guys to play hard, sound defense.”
The win was Wheeler’s fifth in a row and its second consecutive shutout.
The Bearcats (5-3, 5-1 GSSC) forced eight Bishop Noll punts, including seven three-and-out situations, and gave up just three first downs.
Four of Bishop Noll’s five second-half possessions ended in a three-and-out. The Warriors (3-5, 3-3 GSSC) ran two plays in Wheeler territory all game.
“Our defensive line is our strongest area on the team, and they have taken over games,” Klimczak said.
Wheeler forced Bishop Noll into 10 plays resulting in negative yards.
Jeremy Truchan had 104 yards passing and 102 rushing for the Bearcats. He had a two-yard rushing touchdown and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Burch late in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
The Bearcats rushed for 192 yards as a team. Derek Hartwig finished with 45 yards and Jake Bertucci added 28. Keith Back also had a two-yard touchdown run.
“We’re going to continue to give it to the hot hand, and I feel we have five runners who can carry the team if they need to,” Klimczak said.
The Bearcats controlled the first half, garnering a 175-49 edge in total offense of the first two quarters in taking a 14-0 lead at halftime.
The Warriors had trouble getting on track offensively in the opening half. Quarterback Austin Solis had the shotgun snap go over his head three times, all resulting in negative plays, and the Warriors were also stopped on 4th-and-1 when the handoff between Solis and Anthony Mayers hit the turf.