GREENVILLE — Thiel’s Brandon Chambers can catch pretty much anything, although his quarterback, Darrell Satterfield, is usually right on the money.

Dan Hess has proved to be a pretty solid running back, too, starting in place of the Tomcats’ first-ever 1,000-yard rusher, Steve Minton.

But Chambers, Satterfield, Hess and Minton would get no glory if it wasn’t for the five beefy guys that play offensive line, which is, perhaps, the best in all of Division III.

“I can’t say enough about those kids,” Leipheimer said of his offensive front after the Tomcats defeated Johns Hopkins University by 25 points in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs on Saturday. “If we don’t have those five guys up front doing their job every single play, our offense doesn’t move the football.

“The camaraderie that they have as a unit is just outstanding. They just do a great job.”

That’s actually an understatement, especially when it’s considered that the unit has consistently moved opposing defensive lines off the ball 3-4 yards.

Seniors Nelton Neal (6-2, 307) and Dave Hendricks (6-1, 270) are the Tomcats’ starting tackles while juniors Rock Davis (6-0, 253) and Ricky Gable (5-10, 253) are the guards. Center James Fawcett (5-10, 255) is the lone sophomore starter on the O-line.

Those five have certainly made it easier on Hess, who made only his second start of the season during Saturday’s playoff game.

“I knew that our offensive line would continue to dominate the line of scrimmage,” Hess said. “And they would really take care of me all game.”

Minton or Hess

Steve Minton or Dan Hess, does it really matter?

Minton sure looked like a power running back before he was injured. Then again, Hess, just a freshman, has looked just as powerful.

“I started last week (against Carnegie Mellon),” Hess said defending the fact that he is still a rookie to college football. “And I have some previous game experience in the year.”

Leipheimer isn’t concerned with who carries the ball, as long as the running game is working.

“To me, (establishing the run) is the most important factor in the ballgame, being able to run the ball effectively and being able to stop the run defensively,” he said.

It is unknown whether Minton, who was in uniform during the Tomcats’ win over the Blue Jays, will play this Saturday.

Out of tune

When Brandon Chambers caught three first-half touchdown passes on Saturday, it forced the Blue Jays to go pass-heavy the rest of the game.

That played into Thiel’s favor on two fronts. First, Thiel’s defensive line was able to rush the passer without care while the secondary waited patiently for easy picks. Secondly, the Blue Jays are a very balanced offense that struggled because it didn’t have time to run the ball.

“When (Thiel) got up by a few points, it made it more difficult for us,” Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff said.

Cha-Cha-Cha Chambers

You had to be at Saturday’s playoff game to fully comprehend what Chambers did for the Tomcats.

Chambers’ first TD reception was on a quick wide receiver screen to the near side of the field. No Johns Hopkins defensive back had a remote chance to catch him once he broke into the open after making just one juke.

His second touchdown was pulled down along the far sideline. Four defenders were in the vicinity, two of which were right on top of the play.

The third TD catch came on a perfectly placed pass from quarterback Darrell Satterfield between a Johns Hopkins corner in close coverage and converging safety that was to be providing help over the top.

And those were just the highlights. He had 10 receptions in all for 208 yards.

“One thing about Brandon is he has the ability to make big plays any time we get him the football,” Leipheimer said. “He has consistently done that in his career here, and I expect nothing less.”

Working 9 to ?

Leipheimer and his staff were already getting ready for the next opponent, Bridgewater, on Saturday night, just a few hours after securing their first-round win.

“Our coaching staff will take a few hours off and then we’ll be right back at it,” Leipheimer said.

React to this story:


Recommended for you