Dominion QB Donnie Gasser does it all against Heritage; Josh Sweet’s scoring rate soars at Woodgrove

September 23, 2013

Dominion senior quarterback Donnie Gasser accepted the dare.

When Heritage added an extra defender near the line of scrimmage on Friday night, Gasser didn’t blink. He cocked his arm instead.

Despite completing only 18 percent of his passes in his first three games, Gasser had the confidence to hit four of nine passes for 106 yards in a 28-9 win that lifted the Titans to 2-2.

“They were bringing nine in the box, which makes it a lot easier for me,” Gasser said.

“I’m fine with the team bringing it because I believe I can throw, and I believe my receivers can catch.”

The production in the passing game brought balance to a no-huddle Dominion offense defined by the run. Through four games, the Titans have rushed for 915 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Including Gasser, tailback Chad Smith and fullback Justin Lyles, three Titans have more than 100 yards on the ground in 2013.

Last year Gasser was strictly a pocket passer. His minus-15 rushing yards in 2012 were mostly the product of sacks. But this year he’s a major component of a read-option attack.

Dominion Coach Karl Buckwalter said the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Gasser runs a 4.7-second 40-yard dash.

“He’s a horse running the football,” Buckwalter said. “He gives us that extra runner.”

Both Buckwalter and Gasser said the heavy emphasis on running the football stems from a desire to play to Dominion’s strength, the offensive line led by 6-foot-6 stalwart Evan Ferguson.

Brandon Mann is the smallest member of the unit at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, but Buckwalter said he plays with the biggest attitude on the line.

“There hasn’t been a team that I’ve seen that’s bigger than us on the line,” Gasser said.

“It just gives me a lot more confidence back there when I do pass or I do run, I know there is going to be a big a hole or a nice spot for me.”

On Friday, Gasser took advantage of those spots by recording season highs in carries (17) and rushing yards (78). He had energy reserves to affect the game on defense as well.

In Gasser’s first action at safety this year, he picked off two Heritage passes.

Sweet stays efficient

A week after Champe recorded its first victory in school history, Woodgrove running back Josh Sweet felt the Knights fans buzzing Friday night. Then he silenced them.

Sweet returned the opening kickoff for an 84-yard touchdown, setting the tone in a 51-0 win for the Wolverines.

“We knew that we kind of have the edge on them athletically,” Sweet said. “ We knew we had a chance on special teams to make a difference in the game.”

For the second time in three games, Sweet logged fewer than 10 carries but made the most of his workload.

With nine touchdowns on 44 carries, Sweet is averaging a score about once every five times he’s handed the ball. He averages 7.9 yards per carry.

Sweet said he doesn’t care about padding the stats when games get out of hand. He’s happy to save himself for close contest, like a 21-14 loss to Tuscarora in which he chugged on for 27 carries.

Woodgrove’s leading rusher should see plenty of action this week against Briar Woods, which has beaten the Wolverines by a combined 99-17 margin in two previous meetings.

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