Spencer Schnell played for his father, former All-American Blazer quarterback Dave Schnell, who died in 2011 at the age of 44.
ELKHART — Spencer Schnell’s dad never lost a varsity football game to Memorial.
Schnell wasn’t about to follow that up by never winning one against the Crimson Chargers.
Led by a bedazzling show from its senior receiver, the Central Blue Blazers roared past the Chargers 51-3 in Friday night’s season-opening Mangy Lion game as a standing-room-only crowd looked on at Memorial.
“I play every game for my father, and he’s looking down on me, and I’m sure he’s proud right now,” Schnell said of Dave Schnell, the former All-American Blazer quarterback who died in 2011 at age 44 after a lengthy battle with leukemia.
Central beat the Chargers for the first time in the last six meetings (including one playoff game) and for the first time on the road since 2004.
It was the most lopsided game in the history of the series — surpassing the 45-0 win that the Blazers registered in 1983 with Dave Schnell under center.
“It feels great to bring it home,” Spencer Schnell said of the coveted Mangy trophy that goes to the victor of the regular-season crosstown showdown each year. “I didn’t want to leave anything out there. My dad did it well when he was here, and I wanted to do it well.”
In the first half alone — as Central built a 37-3 lead — Schnell caught seven passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Nick Faus, returned a punt 48 yards for a TD and had another TD reduced to a 36-yard return due to a penalty.
“He’s a special kid,” Blazer coach Levon Johnson said of Schnell. “He’s worked incredibly hard. Coming off a season in which he’s the leading receiver for one year of all-time in a program that’s had some great receivers, you worry if a kid is going to get a little complacent, but he comes out and works twice as hard.”
Schnell wasn’t the only Central target having his way as Faus diced up the Chargers to the tune of 20-for-28 through the air for 294 yards before sitting out the fourth quarter with his team already up 51-3. Larry Gates caught six passes for 98 yards, Blake Faus — the QB’s younger brother — four for 54 and John Stahl three for 33.
Memorial, which had won 11 of its last 13 against the Blazers, fell in its debut under new coach Bill Roggeman.
“This is great for the kids, great for the fans, great for all of us,” said Johnson, starting his third year as head coach at Central, “but we had to have 200 yards in penalties (189 unofficially), and in a tight game, that’s just not going to work. We’ve got work to do.”
Each team was called for a handful of personal fouls in the chippy battle, and the Blazers had two players ejected, meaning those players will have to sit out next week.
Central 51, Memorial 3
Scoring by Quarters
Central 14 23 14 0 — 51
Memorial 0 3 0 0 — 3
School — Scoring Play
C — Spencer Schnell 42 pass from Nick Faus; Matt Eppers kick, 9:48.
C — Lavail Robinson 1 run; Eppers kick, 4:52.
M — Tommy Kendall 30 field goal, 12:00.
C — Eppers 40 field goal, 10:31.
C — Robinson 2 run; Eppers kick, 7:37.
C — Schnell 48 punt return; kick failed, 5:56.
C — Schnell 5 pass from N. Faus; Eppers kick, 3:25.
C — Blake Faus 14 pass from N. Faus; Eppers kick, 9:28.
C — N. Faus 1 run; Eppers kick, 5:30.
Officials: Dennis Maude, Fort Wayne; Dave Emenhiser, Decature; Chris Kierski, Fort Wayne; Kyle Eichenauer, Decatur; Jim Dunn, Decatur.
Team Statistics Ce Me
Net yards rushing 145 38
Net yards passing 312 78
Total Yards 457 116
First Downs 23 12
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 4-2
Penalties 18-189 7-77
Central: Rushing — Akeem Purnell 10-90, Lavail Robinson 9-40, Nick Faus 4-22. Passing — N. Faus 20-28-294 (0 int.), Vinny Schnell 1-1-18 (0 int.). Receiving — Spencer Schnell 7-109, Larry Gates 6-98, Blake Faus 4-54, John Stahl 3-33, Scott Ellis 1-18. Interception — Vince Lucchese.
Memorial: Rushing — Brody Slone 10-22, Blake Kramer 3-21, Kane Rickey 4-11. Passing — Kramer 8-20-66 (1 int.), Trevor Trowbridge 4-9-12 (0 int.). Receiving — Nick Youngs 6-47, Slone 3-14, Dimetri Chatman 1-8, Rickey 1-5, Brandon Leal 1-4. Fumble recoveries — Tieshawn Johnson, Nick Hibshman.