Southern fullback pounds over, through Devils defense
COAL TOWNSHIP — Shenandoah Valley was expecting a heavy dose of the ground game from Southern Columbia.
And the Blue Devils got just what they expected and then some from Southern blue-chip back Henry Hynoski.
Cast aside the fact that Hynoski has a 6-foot-5, 315-pound guard headed to Penn State in Josh Marks and a 6-4, 300-pound junior tackle in Tyler Wilson leading the way for him.
That of course helps.
But the only thing stopping the University of Pittsburgh-bound fullback in Friday’s PIAA Class A quarterfinal against Shenandoah Valley was the fence at the back of the Kemp Memorial Stadium end zone.
Hynoski carried for 207 yards on just 15 carries and scored four times in the Tigers 61-15 rout of the Blue Devils.
“It all starts up front,” Hynoski said. “The offensive line was absolutely phenomenal. They’re picking up guys left and right, blocking hard. Like I said, backs just have to run hard and find the holes and then we’re off to the races. It all starts with the offensive line. They did a phenomenal job.”
On the way, the four-year starter moved into seventh-place on Pennsylvania’s all-time rushing list with 6,827 career yards, passing Williamsport’s Darrell Blackmon and Bishop McDevitt’s LeSean McCoy along the way. East Stroudsburg’s James Mungro, now with the Indianapolis Colts, is the career leader with 8,432 yards.
He also now has 112 career touchdowns and 38 on the season.
Once again Friday night, Hyno was nearly unstoppable, especially in the first half, which summed up his career in a nutshell.
The 6-2, 240 pound back carried 14 times for 195 yards and scored three touchdowns on the ground. He also hauled in two passes for 52 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown on a screen as time expired to make it 42-7 at the intermission.
Even with Shenandoah stacking 11 players in the box, Hynoski ate up chunks of yardage.
“We were watching a lot of times, within five yards they would have all 11 guys,” Southern coach Jim Roth said. “The bottom line is we’re gonna get on all but maybe one or two, and Henry takes care of them. Give him the seam, give him a head of steam, and then those one or two d-backs that are left over, he just does his thing with them.”
While Hynoski was as impressive as ever, it wasn’t all Henry, all the time.
“When you have a guy like Henry who’s so dangerous and so hard to deal with and contend with, the defense starts keying on him,” Roth said. “Then you give the ball to an (Austin) Carpenter or an (Andrew) Wimble to the outside. They’re quick kids and they can break the long run.”
Those other backs also help open things up for Hynoski and complement him with their east-west running ability where Hynoski is more a north-south runner.
“They set stuff up for me, too,” Hynoski said. “When they’re running around the end, that opens up things for me in the middle. It’s just a tough tandem to stop. Behind the starting running backs, there’s about six or seven other guys that come in and do the job. We have a stable-full of backs.”
In all, the Tigers’ offense rushed for a whopping 522 yards on 44 carries.
That’s 11.9 yards per carry.
“I think the big thing was up front,” Roth said. “They weren’t as big as us, and we knew coming in that we would have a size advantage. As long as we were going to be able to handle their smaller guys’ quickness and stay with them, we felt we could combat them with Henry and all the other backs that complement him.”
It wasn’t for lack of effort or toughness on the part of the Blue Devils defense. They’re tough kids, and they prove that game after game, year after year.
“If you don’t get him stopped at the line of scrimmage, you might as well forget it,” Shenandoah coach Nick Sajone said. “You can do whatever you want, you ain’t gonna tackle him.”
But Friday night, Hynoski ran through, around and over the Shenandoah defense.
“They’re good,” Sajone said. “We were just outmanned tonight. They’re as advertised.”
“Of course, Henry is the type that if you give him a consistent push and any kind of seem for him ... he’s gonna be tough to deal with,” Roth said.
And that he was for the Blue Devils’ defense and all the others he’s faced during his career.