The Big Reds used a bruising ground game and a staunch defense to defeat home-standing Union Local Friday evening, 44-14.
The Reds took possession at their own 37-yard line after the opening kickoff and methodically drove 63 yards in nine plays, all rushes, and lit the scoreboard first when senior stalwart Cole Porter scored from three yards out. After the successful Jake Heatherington PAT, the lead was 7-0. The key play on the drive was a 22-yard run by senior fullback Andrew Kolenich.
The Jets would answer right back by taking their opening possession 50 yards in ten plays capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Carter Blake to Hunter McCort on a fourth-and-goal. After the PAT, the score was tied 7-7.
From there, it was all Big Reds in the first half as they scored touchdowns on their next five possessions. Porter scored on the first three of the five possessions from short yardage (4,4,4). Freshman quarterback Jake Heatherington got into the mix when he scampered in from 13 yards out and lunged for the pylon to extend the lead to 32-7. Fellow freshman RayRay Pettigrew concluded the first-half scoring when he scored his first career touchdown by taking a direct snap and racing untouched 68 yards to give the Big Reds a 38-7 halftime lead. Porter went into halftime with his evening complete with 12 carries for 52 yards and his four touchdowns. Kolenich added three carries for 32 yards. Heatherington was efficient completing 3-of-4 passes for 128 yards. Senior wideout Trenton Wilson snagged two receptions for 84 yards while classmate AJ McCarthy had one reception for 44 yards.
The Reds substituted freely in the second half. Freshman Joey Lewis rushed nine times for 48 yards while sophomore Brandon Mamie toted the rock nine times for 43 yards. Senior Kaleb Pitchford had six carries for 27 yards while freshman Brayden Roth added six carries for 23 yards. Senior Austen Rejonis made his only carry of the game count when he closed out the scoring with a six-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
Senior interior defensive lineman Chase Nolan led a dominant defensive effort with seven tackles, six tackles for a loss and two quarterback sacks while Kolenich added 5.5 tackles and two tackles for a loss. Senior Levi Littell chipped in with 3.5 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a quarterback sack.
Ferry week is officially upon us. The Big Reds close out the regular season on Saturday at Nelson Field. Kickoff is slated for 12:30pm.