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Bulldogs' strong offensive line helps team to rush for over 240 yards and five TDs

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - The Culver football team improved to 1-4 after last week's 41-21 win over league opponent Gervais.After four tough losses and one canceled game, Culver football can finally celebrate its first victory of the season. The Bulldog offense ran all over the Gervais defense, scoring five rushing touchdowns in a 41-21 win.

"As far as our offensive line," said Culver head coach Brian Silbernagel, "we were back. I think it was the first time all year our starting rotation was healthy and all there. I felt we really controlled the offensive line of scrimmage. We had a lot of things working well."

While Silbernagel has praised his line in the past for its pass blocking, this past Thursday it was the run game that truly shone in the win over Gervais.

The Bulldogs amassed 241 yards on the ground while scoring five times. Kelin Abbas scored two of the touchdowns for Culver, while Cyrus Mathews and Ethan Russo added one apiece.

Silbernagel noted that this three-pronged running game worked well, with Abbas having a particularly prolific day on the ground for a player who normally lines up at tight end.

The other rushing score came from quarterback Logan Macy, who also threw for a touchdown to Gabe Wilson. Macy further padded his stat line by adding a two-point conversion and, in his role as the team's placekicker, three extra-point kicks.

"They executed all night long," said Silbernagel of his offensive unit. "As an offensive coordinator, I was able to have my full playbook open to me, just for the fact that they were controlling the line of scrimmage."

Perhaps the biggest sign of growth for the Culver team is that they cleaned up their act in terms of taking care of the ball. Last week against Salem Academy, the Bulldogs turned the ball over seven times, all but ensuring their own demise.

"You're never going to win a high school football game with seven turnovers," said Silbernagel. "The guys realized that they've got to do a better job of protecting the ball."

Against Gervais, they did just that. The team's only turnover came on a mishandled onside kick from the Cougars at the end of the game. The offense itself, however, was mistake-free.

It was a remarkable turnaround for an offense that has been prone to turnovers. The defense did its job, too, allowing a season-low 21 points to the Cougars.

With the win, Culver moves to 1-4 on the season and 1-2 in 2A Special District 2 competition with just three games left to play.

"Tuesday, we had a big meeting," said Silbernagel. "We just put everything out on the table of why we haven't been successful. It's all worked itself out. I'm hoping it will get better and better with the buy-in."

Assuming the team has turned a corner, they could be in for another win next week when they square off with Colton (2-3, 0-3). The Bulldogs will have extra motivation to win that game, too, as it is the team's homecoming game. Kickoff is schedule for 7 p.m. on Friday.

"Colton's a winnable game for us if we do all the right things," said Silbernagel.

"If we control the line of scrimmage like we did with Gervais," he added, "take care of the ball and win the turnover battles, and wrap up and tackle in open space, we'll be fine."

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