SANDWICH — Just a year ago, senior running back Zach Bosek set a new Sandwich varsity football rushing record during a lopsided season-ending victory over the Seneca Fighting Irish.
This year, Bosek's former teammate Evan Taxis decided to make his 2017 senior season one of the most memorable in SHS history by rushing 24 times for 222 yards along with a massive six touchdowns as the Indians topped the Irish once again, a 47-14 Interstate Eight crossover contest here at Sandwich.
Taxis came back 355 days later and bested Bosek's previous record of 1,473 yards by posting a staggering season total of 1,524 yards on 215 carries (7.1 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns.
The speedy senior scored on runs of 27, 61, seven, nine and one yards, totaling a whopping 217 on 22 carries in the first half alone as the Indians led by 34 at halftime.
He'd add a five-yard jaunt in the third quarter which invoked a running clock, as Taxis concluded his amazing career as an Indian in spectacular fashion.
"I wouldn't have gotten anywhere tonight or throughout this season without my line," Taxis said. "Those guys would do anything for me, and if it wasn't for them I wouldn't have come close to the record at all. It's just a great feeling, and it was one of my goals at the beginning of the season to get close to the record, but actually I didn't think I'd break it the way I did.
The Indians (2-7) also got 121 yards passing from senior quarterback Joe Wiggins as they totaled 399 of total offense on the night, with Taxis accounting for over 55 percent of the output.
"Evan's one of the hardest workers on this team, not only during the regular season but the offseason as well, and I think that carried over onto the field this year for him," said Sandwich coach Chris Van Dyke. "This was a great group of seniors, and we could have been sitting at 4-4 going into this game but we lost some close ballgames. We battled every week, however,r and we ended tonight on a high note with another record-setting rushing performance for the second year in a row."
Taxis lit up the scoreboard early, as he tallied on a 27-yard touchdown run after a Seneca fumble at 9:11 of the first quarter that made the score 7-0. A 61-yard gallop followed at 7:57 and the Indians led 13-0. Sam Brunoehler then scampered home on an one-yard sweep right at 3:51 to put Sandwich ahead 20-0.
Seneca (3-6) did manage to score late in the first period when Logan Bruss (70 yards, 11 carries) rambled 34 yards with three seconds to go in the opening stanza to cut the gap to 20-6. But Taxis added three more touchdown trips in the second quarter, starting with a seven-yard jaunt at 9:41. Then after another Irish fumble deep in their own territory, Taxis bolted nine yards to paydirt at 9:22, which broke Bosek's record. He'd add a one-yard blast with 12 seconds to go in the half as Sandwich led 40-6 at halftime.
Taxis then concluded his record-setting evening with a five-yard scamper at 5:04 of the third period. The running clock ensued with the Indians up 47-6.
The Irish did manage to get a four-yard touchdown run from Colt Aldrich (nine carries, 36 yards) at 6:42 of the fourth period, but Seneca could collect only 180 yards of total offense, and as one of the original charter members that started the I-8 back in 1979 played its last pigskin game as a conference member.
"He (Taxis) is a great back, and I think Sandwich is a very good football team despite their record," said Seneca coach Ted O'Boyle. "It's disappointing, and you never want to go out with a game like this, especially knowing the significance with us leaving the conference.
Sandwich 47, Seneca 14
Seneca (3-6) 6 0 0 8 — 14
Sandwich (2-7) 20 20 7 0 — 47
SND — Taxis 27 run (Conrad kick), 9:11, 7-0.
SND — Taxis 61 run (kick failed), 7:57, 13-0.
SND — Brunoehler 1 run (Conrad kick), 3:51, 20-0.
SEN — Bruss 34 run (pass failed), 0:03, 20-6.
SND — Taxis 7 run (Conrad kick), 9:41, 27-6.
SND — Taxis 9 run (Conrad kick), 9:22, 34-6.
SND — Taxis 1 run (kick failed), 0:12, 40-6.
SND — Taxis 5 run (Conrad kick), 5:04 47-6.
SEN — Aldrich 4 run (Greve run), 6:42, 47-14.
First downs 10 14
Rushes-Yards 41-173 35-278
Passing yards 7 121
Total offense 180 399
Comp-Att-Int. 2-9-0 4-5-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-43 7-60
Punts-Avg. 4-27.8 2-42.0
RUSHING: Seneca — Bruss 11-70, Aldrich 9-36, Greve 5-30, Dooley 14-28, Altman 1-6, Barnett 1-3. Sandwich — Taxis 24-222, Carrera 1-38, Brunoehler 2-8, Wiggins 2-6, Smith 2-5, File 1-4, Fraire 1-2, Frieders 2 (-7).
PASSING: (C-A-TD-INT-YD): Seneca — Greve 2-9-0-0-7. Sandwich — Wiggins 4-5-0-0-121.
RECEIVING: Seneca — Bruss 2-7. Sandwich — Roop 1-60, Carrera 1-35, Butler 1-23, Brunoehler 1-3.