When running back Marty Pigeon went down with a shoulder injury in Loyola Sacred Heart’s quarterfinal football clash with Red Lodge, the Rams backfield was suddenly without the left jab in its 1-2 punch.
Senior Tony Madsen carried the load fine enough alone that week – to the tune of 137 yards on 31 carries for two touchdowns – but coach Dan Weber didn’t want his back worn down by so many touches.
So he shuffled the deck and came up with Stephen Sellman.
Like clockwork, the backup quarterback shifted a few steps in his backfield lineup and ran wild in Loyola’s semifinal win over Boulder racking up 111 yards on 11 carries, including a TD rush.
“To be honest with you, that’s a credit to our offensive line,” Weber said. “The fact that we’re able to bring a guy who’s our backup quarterback in and put him in the halfback spot in there for us and have him carry the ball and be our leading ball carrier for us in the semifinal game really says something about the way out offensive line is blocking.”
Indeed. Loyola put up 223 rushing yards as a unit and had a pair of 100-yard backs as Madsen also broke the century plateau.
The run game will be less of an emphasis for Loyola this week as the Rams take on Baker in the State B championship game Saturday at 1 p.m. The Spartans are a very good run defending team, Weber said, but it’ll be nice to have a pair of backs to spread the load around when the Rams hit the ground.
Especially now since he and the coaching staff know Sellman can hit the holes.
“Most of his carries in all honesty had been in the fourth quarter when he was in as the backup quarterback,” Weber said of Sellman’s rushing work this season prior to last week. “And a lot of those were scrambling opportunities and he didn’t have the starting line out there in front of him.
“He was kind of running for his life so I don’t know if that helped or hurt when he stepped into the role as the running back,” Weber added with a chuckle.