Smith has record kick, Stumpf runs wild in victory

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Sep 21, 2019 at 2:09 AM

MILAN — Two years ago, a young, small freshman kicker for Norwalk made a 24-yard field goal in the south end zone at Edison that barely cleared the crossbar with eight seconds left in the first half in a 13-3 loss.

On Friday, that same kicker — junior Garrison Smith — was sent out to attempt a field goal at the same end zone in Milan, also with under 10 seconds left in the first half.

Except he was kicking from the Edison 33.

Smith boomed a 50-yard field goal that had another 7-to-8 yards of room on it when it cleared the bar for a school record in Norwalk’s 38-6 win over the Chargers.

Smith also made all five of his extra points, pinned Edison at the 20 with five touchbacks, and had a 51-yard punt.

“It was a great night for it — anything you could ask for the conditions as a kicker,” Smith said. “Perfect snap by Ethan (Hernandez) and a great hold by Jesse (Cole). It was a perfect scenario, and I had to follow through.

“I had a good feeling it was a good kick, but from the way I kicked it, I was worried I got it a little to the left. But no, it felt good off the foot.”

Smith’s kicking was far from the only highlights for the Truckers (3-1), who threw for over 200 yards and ran for more than 230 yards in the win.

On Norwalk’s second play from scrimmage, junior quarterback Garrett Chapin found senior receiver Ryan Sowders in one-on-one coverage. Sowders beat his defender by two steps, hauled in the pass and turned it into a 70-yard touchdown catch.

The first of five Smith PATs put Norwalk ahead 7-0 at the 8:32 mark of the first quarter.

Edison’s ensuing drive stalled at the Norwalk 14 when quarterback Thomas Simon was sacked for a six-yard loss on fourth-and-8. The Truckers turned that into a methodical 12-play, 80-yard scoring march that took 4:33 as Alec Maloney bulled in from 3 yards out for a 14-0 lead with 11:03 left in the first half.

Edison (2-2) again put together a solid drive, but a fourth-and-4 pass by Simon was broken up by Hernandez at the Norwalk 28 with 5:19 left in the half.

The Truckers responded to that stop with a 7-play, 72-yard scoring drive as Evan Stumpf got free to the right sideline for a 22-yard TD run with 2:52 left in the half for a 21-0 lead.

After another Norwalk defensive stop, the Truckers got the ball back with 37 seconds left in the half at their own 30. Chapin connected with Kade Staley for eight yards, Sowders for 11 and Ethan Phillips for 23 yards.

A procedure penalty pushed the Truckers back five yards to the 33, setting the stage for Smith’s record kick.

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Stumpf got perfect blocking and did the rest on a 66-yard touchdown run just 23 seconds into the third quarter.

Two possessions later, Stumpf again broke loose on the first play of a Norwalk drive, this time cutting back off two blocks downfield for a 51-yard TD run with 6:40 left in the game.

Smith’s last PAT put Norwalk up 38-0.

Edison got its lone touchdown of the game on the very next play from scrimmage. Senior Jacob Brewer found an opening for an 80-yard TD run with 6:01 left in the game. The kick was blocked.

“The biggest glaring thing was the speed they have,” Edison coach Jim Hall said of Norwalk. “Of course when they have that kind of size to go with it, our margin for error is small. We have to have guys fitting in at the right time, and down the field we have to be able to run with them better than we did.

“It’s frustrating, but I know our guys are fighting and doing the right things,” he added. “Sometimes it goes that way.”

Stumpf ran 20 times for 233 yards and 3 TDs for the Truckers. Unofficially, the senior running back has 779 yards and 10 TDs through four games.

Chapin was 9-of-11 passing for 205 yards with the TD strike to Sowders, who caught three passes for 89 yards. Staley (51 yards), Mozina (44 yards) and Phillips (38 yards) each had two catches.

Norwalk coach Todd Fox nearly let Smith try a 50-plus yard field goal two weeks ago in a win over Huron. The coach was glad he did on Friday.

“Tonight just highlights what he does,” Fox said. “Garrison has been doing those kind of things for us. I had not given him that shot from 50 yet, and I think he had another eight or nine yards to spare on it.

“He is a weapon, and we even deferred the opening coin toss because we feel like he’ll just kick it in the end zone,” he added. “We joke with him all the time about putting a kickoff through the uprights … I don’t know, I wouldn’t put it past him before he’s done. He’s a great weapon to have and use.”

Though the penalty total was still high (11 for 105 yards), Fox was more than pleased with his offense on Friday.

“Our offensive line has really evolved and stepped back up to where we wanted them to be, so credit to them,” he said. “Evan didn’t get as many touches early because Garrett was locked in, and we wanted to take advantage of that, too.

“One of our goals coming into this game was to get the passing game in sync, and both run and pass was very efficient,” Fox added.

For Edison, Brewer ran 11 times for 138 yards and the lone score. Simon ran 13 times for 44 yards and completed 4-of-7 passes for 48 yards. Juston Hosley caught two passes for 15 yards and Noah Staley had a 25-yard catch in the first half.

The Chargers will look to rebound next week at home against Toledo Woodward (0-4). Norwalk has its homecoming game vs. Ontario (2-2) the same night.


Norwalk 7 17 7 7 — 38

Edison   0  0  0 6 — 6


N — Ryan Sowders 70 pass from Garrett Chapin (Garrison Smith kick)

N — Alec Maloney 3 run (Smith kick)

N — Evan Stumpf 22 run (Smith kick)

N — Smith 50 field goal

N — Stumpf 66 run (Smith kick)

N — Stumpf 51 run (Smith kick)

E — Jacob Brewer 80 run (kick blocked)

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