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Norwalk defense rose to big challenge in slowing Sandusky offense

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated Nov 17, 2018 at 12:13 AM

BELLEVUE — Norwalk's Alec Maloney said sometimes it is just being in the right place at the right time.

The junior recovered a key fumble and led a Truckers defense that held Sandusky running back Terion Stewart well below his season averages in Friday's 20-17 Division III Region 10 championship game win at Bellevue Athletic Field.

"All 11 guys got to the football," Maloney said. "We could not let Terion get to the outside. We had to keep him inside."

The 5-foot-7 Stewart, who entered the game averaging 220 yards per game and 11.6 yards per carry, was held to 91 yards on 20 carries. His longest run was a 19-yard touchdown that gave Sandusky (8-4) a 14-10 lead, which it held at halftime and deep into the third quarter.

"We did so good on defense," Maloney said. "I am at a loss for words. Defense is the key to these types of games with a running back that good. The defense had to step it up."

Stewart is being looked at by a variety of colleges, even garnering interest from Ohio State among other Power 5 programs.

"Sometimes I get a little mad and just want to go hit someone," Maloney said.

Maloney's fumble recovery came in the third quarter after quarterback Garrett Chapin threw an interception. Maloney cashed in on the offensive side on the next drive, scoring to put the Truckers ahead, 17-14.

"Sandusky played a really good game," Maloney said. "I think we did too. Our line did phenomenal."

Maloney was seemingly all over the field for Norwalk, recording numerous tackles, as well as constantly pressuring Sandusky quarterback Shonsai Aaron. The Blue Streak quarterback finished 8-of-15 passing for 116 yards with a touchdown — but two interceptions.

Jake Sommers intercepted Aaron to seal the win with 1:13 left, while Ian Scheid picked off Aaron and forced the fumble that Maloney recovered.

The Truckers turned away Sandusky on three straight possessions in the game’s final nine minutes.

"On defense, everyone pursued to the football," Maloney said.

In the playoffs, Norwalk has allowed 38 points in three victories (12.6 per game).

Maloney noted that Evan Stumpf — 5-foot-10 junior running back — simulated Stewart in practice.

"Evan is a phenomenal runner," Maloney said. "We basically used him as Terion. If 11 guys were not on the football, we would get yelled at. It paid off."

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