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Running backs share the load
ST. LOUIS -- St. Vincent's football team preached the team-game this season, never singling out any one player.
That philosophy applies to the Indians' running game as well, where they entered the Class 1 state title game on Saturday with six players having rushed for 200 yards or more, including three with 500 or more. St. Vincent's running back by committee style worked perfectly against undefeated East Buchanan, as the Indians rushed for 232 yards on 52 carries in a 21-0 win.
"I think it helps we have a lot of kids that carry the ball," St. Vincent coach Keith Winkler said.
Waylon Richardet, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior, led St. Vincent with 105 yards on Saturday. Richardet had rushed for more than 100 yards the previous two playoff games, and got off to a strong start Saturday with 77 yards in the opening half, including a 51-yard touchdown run.
After punishing the Bulldogs with the bruising Richardet, St. Vincent would then go to 5-6, 160-pound back Dustin Winkler. Winkler is able to hind behind St. Vincent's huge line, and also eclipsed the 100-yard mark on Saturday with 103 yards on 19 carries.
"We knew coming in they had about four guys with 500 yards," East Buchanan coach Ron Musser said. "They were able to run people in and out and get fresh legs in there and that helped."
Anthony Brown, St. Vincent's third 500-yard rusher behind Richardet and Winkler, carried the ball 10 times for 32 yards. Fullback Luke Guyot got a carry, as did Seth Amschler. Quarterback Alex Armbruster also carried four times.
"It's kind of hard to key on one because they all have different styles of running," Keith Winkler said. "Anyone can break one at any time."
St. Vincent's running game was one of the big differences in the game, wearing down the Bulldogs in the second half. The Indians rushed the ball 30 times in the second half compared to just two passes. It was St. Vincent's relentless ground game which helped the Indians hold a time of possession advantage of 18 minutes and 30 seconds to 5 minutes and 30 seconds in the second half.
The Indians' line averages 235 pounds, with all five lineman standing at least 5-11. Four of the five are seniors, including Mark Prost, a second-team all-state selection last season.
"We couldn't have done anything without the offensive line we have," Winkler said.