The Big Reds recovered from a slow start in the first quarter and used their physicality and toughness to eventually run away with a 36-7 victory Saturday afternoon at sun-drenched Nelson Field.
Things started off ominously for the Big Reds on the second play from scrimmage when QB Bobby Roth struggled to control a high snap and the ball was jarred loose by the Beaver’s defensive stalwart Daniel Wirth and the visitors were in business with a 1st-and-ten at the Bellaire 30-yard line. Four plays later, Beavers QB Ethan Lewis found running back Jacob Kane for a 21-yard touchdown pass and the Beavers led 7-0.
Both teams’ defenses dominated the first quarter and the Big Reds’ defense got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when senior Cole Porter picked off a Lewis pass at the 21-yard line and raced untouched to paydirt. After the PAT missed just wide right, the Beavers led 7-6.
After both teams exchanged turnovers, the Reds’ defense forced a punt giving the offense the ball at their own seven-yard line. In one of the most impressive drives of the season, the Big Reds marched 93 yards in ten plays capped off by Porter’s 27-yard touchdown run. After the successful PAT, the Reds had their first lead at 13-7.
The defense went right back to work on the next drive when senior AJ McCarthy got into the stolen goods business when he picked off a Lewis pass and set up the offense at the Beavers’ 39-yard line. Four plays later, McCarthy’s versatility was on display as he hauled in the 34-yard connection from Roth to light the scoreboard again. After the successful PAT, the home team went in the locker room at the half with a 20-7 lead.
The Big Reds set up shop in the third quarter again with some thievery when Cody Albaugh intercepted a pass setting up the offense. After a short drive, Porter added to the lead when he connected on his first field goal of the season as it was true from 25-yards away and the Big Reds lead swelled to 23-7.
The Big Reds’ defense forced a three-and-out to start the fourth quarter and took possession of the ball on their own eight-yard line. They only needed one play to score however when senior fullback Cody Albaugh took the quick hand-off on the fullback trap and found plenty of room to roam as he raced untouched for the 92-yard touchdown scamper. The run was just three yards shy of the school record 95-yard touchdown runs by former Big Reds Ezan Ellsworth and Hunter Westlake. After another successful Porter PAT, the lead was 30-7.
Freshman tailback Brayden Roth finished the scoring in the fourth quarter with a two-yard touchdown run for his first career touchdown. He was responsible for 40 yards on the ground on the 59-yard scoring drive. Porter’s PAT made the score 36-7.
The Big Reds finished with 395 yards of total offense with 295 of those coming on the ground. Albaugh led the way with his 92-yard carry while mainstay Porter toted the rock 14 times for 81 yards. The elder Roth took advantage of quite a few successful quarterback runs to finish with 14 carries for 49 yards. The younger Roth finished with 44 yards on just four carries while senior backup fullback Austen Rejonis closed out the Reds final drive with 21 punishing yards on two carries. Roth completed seven-of-18 passes for 100 yards to go along with his one touchdown.
Chase Nolan led the way with eight tackles while Cody Albaugh and Colt Sechrest each added six tackles a piece. The Big Reds’ defense was credited with 12 tackles for a loss, four quarterback sacks and four interceptions. Congratulations if you had the defense on your fantasy team this weekend.
The Big Reds will complete the three-game homestand this Saturday when they host St. Clairsville at Nelson Field. Kickoff is at 12:30pm.