Huskies roll past Redskins
CADIZ – It was over early at Harrison Central.
Caldwell received the opening kickoff, ran it back to the 26, but coughed it up and the Huskies pounced on it on the Redskins’ 29.
From there, it took Coach Justin Kropka’s team three plays to dent the scoring column and officially set the tone for what turned into a dominating 47-7 rout in front of a large turnout Friday night.
“We wanted to come out and start fast,” Kropka said. “We were able to jump on them early, get some work in and get out of the game healthy. We wanted to be business-like and I thought we were able to do that.”
The Huskies got everyone involved, including a talented freshman class for nearly the entire second half.
Before Kropka emptied his bench, senior tailback Maurtice Hython showed why he’s an all-Ohioan. He showed speed, power and impressive shiftiness en route to 231 yards on just 11 carries. He scored on runs of 73, 22 and 64 yards before taking a seat on the bench.
Not bad for a guy who Kropka was unsure if he’d go earlier in the week because of a minor injury.
“We take a lot of precautions,” Kropka said. “When you’re not in league play, you can afford that somewhat, but here soon, we’re not going to be able to rest anyone. Obviously, this is the kind of performance we’ve come to expect from Maurtice.”
The Huskies also showed their ability to throw the ball as senior quarterback Rashaen Mitchell was an impressive 5-of-6 for 144 yards. He landed three touchdowns.
Harrison Central’s first offensive unit scored on all five of its possessions in the first half and its only possession of the third quarter.
“Our offense was efficient,” Kropka said. “(Offensive coach) Chad Figurski called a nice game tonight. I thought we were balanced. I want to give Caldwell credit because I thought their kids played hard. We were just a little too much for them tonight.”
On the receiving end of Mitchell’s touchdown tosses were Nate Olmstead (15 yards), Josh Moore (22 yards) and Dalton Rutter (77 yards).
The Redskins, who have been decimated by injuries already this season, were forced earlier this week to re-work their offensive game plan because of being without their quarterback.
“I am proud of my kids for coming out, stepping up and played hard against a good football team,” said Redskins’ head coach Josh Perkins. “We shot ourselves in the foot early on with a penalty and a fumble. We were playing football from 60 years ago. We had to reflect back and find something we could do (offensively) to give us the best chance.”
Outside of a 65-yard burst by senior Caleb VanMeter, the Huskies’ defense limited the Noble Countians to 131 yards of offense.
“When things are going bad, like they are for (Caldwell) right now, things tend to snowball on you,” Kropka said. “Fortunately, we have some kids who allow us to be able to take advantage of some of their mistakes.”
The Huskies’ defense received another sterling performance from senior linebacker Nick Pelegreen, Niko Williams and Cole Howes.
Impressive freshman Tison Johnson rounded out the scoring for the Huskies with a 13 yard scamper.
He had 59 yards on four carries, while classmate Travis Stenson also shined with 47 yards on six rushes.
With their perfect 3-0 record, the Huskies will open Buckeye 8 play next Friday when fellow 3-0 Martins Ferry invades Harrison County.
“The Buckeye 8 is a battle of attrition sometimes and you never what you’re going to be Week 4 as compared to what you’re going to be in Week 10,” Kropka said. “We need to stay healthy and it’ll come down to a depth issue. We’ll get ready for Martins Ferry and see where the cards fall.”
Caldwell’s road gets no easier. It makes the trip to Woodsfield to tangle with 2-1 Monroe Central.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org