By Dan Ramey
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Stopping the quarterback was a problem for both Chillicothe and Washington CH Friday night as the Cavaliers trailed 13-0 early but rallied for a 42-25 victory.
Dillon Steward and Branden Maughmer dazzled the crowd at Gardner Park. Maughmer had 30 carries for 274 yards and three scores (23, 62 and 31 yards respectively) and completed 5-of-8 passes. Steward ran for 290 yards including an 18 yard TD run and completed 10-of-18 passes for 113 yards and a TD pass… but threw three interceptions
The two clubs combined for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense.
Steward got things going early with a 55 yard sideline dash and punched in on a two-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Maughmer broke a sizable run to the WCH 34 on Chillicothe’s first play, but had the ball stripped. The Blue Lion recovered the fumble and drove 76 yards capped by a four yard TD run by Jacob Rice. The drive featured a 64 yard run by Steward.
“They ran a zone play we hadn’t seen them run” said Cavs’ Defensive Coordinator Jeff Arndt. “We went back to things we did last week (against Miami Trace). They (Washington) had the answers for my answers… it was a chess match, move this piece and move that piece.”
Nearly eight minutes into the game and the Cavs were down 13-0 and nothing to show for offense. But then Chillicothe rolled off 28 unanswered points.
“I was kinda surprised at how well they blocked us” said Cavs Coach Ron Hinton. “They spread us out, but we battled back. We made some great plays… we got settled down and then got into a rhythm,”
Maughmer scored on a 23 yard run with just 22 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter. On the next Cavs possession, Connor Mathis popped in from 10 yards out and freshman Jacob Coffland, filling for an injured Matt Detty, kicked the PAT to give Chillicothe its first lead of the game, 14-13.The Cavs scored again before halftime . Mathis plunged in with 1:53 left in the half.
Just 45 seconds into the second half, the Cavs struck again. Maughmer outran the Lions defense on a 62 yard scoring run for a 28-13 lead.
Steward responded with an 18 yard run following a fake punt helped Washington CH keep its drive alive. The Cavs bounced back on a 31 yard score from Maughmer and a 35-19 lead.
Peyton Shoemaker stepped in front a steward pass and returned it 40 yards to the Washington 20. A couple of plays later and Mathis scored from a yard out for a dagger in the Lions’ hopes for an upset.
While pleased with the win, Coach Hinton says the Cavs still need to be more effective with its passing game. Maughmer completed 5-of-8 passing, but for only 44 yards with an interception near the Lion’s goal line to close out the third quarter. “We can’t rely on the run” said Hinton “if we want to make a move down the stretch”.
Chillicothe (4-0/7-2) heads to Jackson (4-0/8-1) for a Frontier Athletic Conference championship match. The Ironmen blanked McClain (0-4/0-9) 49-0 Friday. The Cavs haven’t had an outright conference title since winning the Ohio Capital Conference in 1990. “We’ve gotta go down there and take care of business” said Hinton. “We’ve gotta clean up some things, and just go play.”
In the other FAC bout was an offensive juggernaut with Hillsboro (2-2/6-4) outlasting Miami Trace (1-3/1-8) 76-48.
FRONTIER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL STANDINGS THROUGH 10-20-17:
Jackson 4-0, 8-1
Chillicothe 4-0, 7-2
Hillsboro 2-2, 6-3
Washington 1-3, 4-5
Miami Trace 1-3, 1-8
McClain 0-4, 0-9