St. Hill, Olympians keep on rolling
ORWIGSBURG — On Sept. 24, 1999, Gabe Robinson set the Jim Thorpe school record with 260 rushing yards.
And almost exactly 18 years later, Justin St. Hill made that milestone a distant memory.
St. Hill stamped his name into the Olympians’ history book on Friday night by thumping Blue Mountain for 325 yards on the ground. He scored four times, the Olympians pitched another shutout, and Jim Thorpe earned a lopsided 27-0 Schuylkill League Division 1 victory over the Eagles.
“Technically, our offense is not Wildcat,” explained St. Hill, who takes a lot of snaps directly from the center. “I’m a quarterback this year. The transition has been great, it gives a lot of depth to our offense. I like being able to use my vision. Coach always said my vision is my strong suit, so being able to see the entire field and being able to make my cuts is really good for me.”
After a slow first quarter for both teams, the Olympians kicked off the second frame with an eight-play, 88-yard drive—that ended with a seven-yard St. Hill plunge for the initial score of the game. In fact, all eight plays called his number, which included a massive 64-yard gain two plays before his first of four touchdowns.
“You couldn’t ask for a better performance,” said Jim Thorpe head coach Mark Rosenberger. “He carried our offense on his back. But it’s also up front, our kids opened up some holes up front and allowed him to make some big plays for us and he really stepped up tonight.”
St. Hill added another score before halftime to stretch the Olympians’ lead to 12-0 at intermission.
Thorpe’s opening possession of the second half wasn’t a great one.
After a JT punt from its own nine, Blue Mountain started its ensuing drive in Olympians’ territory. But Jim Thorpe’s defense wouldn’t budge and immediately found a way to pick up its offense.
The Eagles drove the ball down to the JT one-yard line, but the ‘Red Swarm’ made a ferocious goal-line stand. On third-and-goal from the one, William Munson made his second-straight stuff of the sequence, and this time, forced a fumble that the Olympians recovered.
“In years past, that’s a touchdown; our defense doesn’t suck it up and make the play,” said Rosenberger. “This team is different. When our backs against the wall, to not give up and allow a team to score—they just weren’t having it. They kept on fighting and made plays. We force a fumble and next thing you know it’s our ball again.”
Thorpe punted on its next possession after the huge takeaway, and Blue Mountain once again started in JT territory.
But it didn’t matter. The Olympians dominated the trenches all night and forced the Eagles to go four-and-out. St. Hill scored his third touchdown on the immediate drive at the 1:37 mark of the third frame to give Thorpe a 20-point lead.
The defense continued to make its mark in the fourth quarter, as Blue Mountain’s three possessions consisted of a pair of four-and-outs and another fumble lost. St. Hill’s final blast was a 33-yard bolt to the house with 4:17 left to play.
UNDEFEATED ... After Friday night’s action, Schuylkill League Division 1 only has two unbeaten teams left; Jim Thorpe and Lehighton. “A lot of people said that we didn’t get to the strength of our schedule yet,” St. Hill said. “We just got to that sixth week where we usually get into a slump. To show that the ‘Red Swarm’ is here to stay and we’re here to play this year, is a really good feeling.”
IF YOU’RE HEALTHY AND YOU KNOW IT ... Friday might have been the first week St. Hill was close to or playing at 100 percent. “It’s amazing,” said St. Hill. “I’ve been trying to have a breakout game all season. It’s really great that the line cooperated. I finally got my body healthy and we got the job done.”
CLAMP DOWN ... Jim Thorpe held Blue Mountain to 88 rushing yards. JT pitched its fifth-straight shutout and has only yielded one score this season.