RANDOLPH – Randolph’s offensive line is proving to be a problem for opponents this fall.
With fullback Payton Slade leading the way for senior running back Xander Hind, the Cardinals are nearly unstoppable.
Hind rushed 39 times for 340 yards and a touchdown, and also scored for 16 yards as Randolph opened Class D play with a 35-18 win over Clymer/Sherman/Panama on Friday night.
“(Xander) wants to carry the load,” said Randolph head coach Brent Brown. “So we let him carry the load.”
Running behind the push of Jacob Dexter, Sterling Skye, Elial Bryan, Dillon Schrader and Ryan Carpenter up front, Hind was able to gain several yards before contact each time he carried the ball.
“We were telling them this game was on their backs because we are a team on the ground and on the book,” Hind said of his teammates. “The linemen ate today. It was on the shoulders of the linemen and the tight ends and the fullbacks. … They were crazy.
Once the Wolfpack made contact, Hind did the rest of the work, breaking several tackles en route to another showpiece performance in Week 2. Last season, in a 36-26 Week 2 win over Franklinville / Ellicottville, Hind rushed 44 times for 330 yards and four touchdowns as the Cardinals kicked off their Division VI championship campaign.
“I kept trying to put someone in it,” Brown said, “but he kept wanting to stay in there.”
C/S/P was a tough test for Randolph on Friday and would have been in the late game had it not been for a pair of drives that reached the 1-yard line before the Wolfpack could come away with 3 points.
“We went inside the red zone a few times and didn’t score” said Wolfpack head coach Ty Harper. “…It’s quite frustrating.”
Sophomores Tate Catanese and Bryce Hinsdale broke records for C/S/P in the loss. Catanese completed 23 of a record 40 attempts for 346 yards with Hinsdale breaking the receptions record with 13 en route for 148 yards.
“At the start of the game he was maybe a little overwhelmed… but he got better as the game went on. He definitely has his legs under him and showed a lot of leadership there,” Harper said of Catanese, adding, “Bryce Hinsdale was obviously phenomenal.”
Slade scored the game’s first points on a 15-yard touchdown run after an 80-yard drive that was scored by a 22-yard run from Hind. Maverick Adams added the 2-point conversion run and the Cardinals led 8-0 after the first quarter.
The Wolfpack converted a pair of fourth downs in their next training and netted a first and a goal from the 2-yard line before a third sack forced them to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Hinsdale.
Hind had runs for 24 and 28 yards on Randolph’s next drive before quarterback Carson Conley scored on an 8-yard run that made it 14-3 with 5:49 left in the second quarter.
“He’s an amazing player. I’ve been doing this for a while now and he’s such a good fullback I’ve trained against. He runs strong,” Harper said of Hind. “It’s very difficult to bring him down with the first tackle. We probably didn’t do a good enough job of fighting the gangs tonight.
C/S/P struck fast on the ensuing drive as Catanese hit Hinsdale for 24 yards and Dylan Michael for 15 yards before a 42-yard touchdown pass to Alex Barmore on second and 20 did 14-10 after a Hinsdale PAT.
“I think Alex is going to be a really special player. You see flashes of him every week,” Harper said. “As soon as he puts all that together and starts to realize the type of player he is, I think you’re going to see him take off.”
The Cardinals regained their two-point lead shortly after halftime as Conley followed up a 33-yard run from Hind with a 1-yard goalie that made it 21-10 after the first of three kicks point after Griffin Nelson.
The Wolfpack’s ensuing drive again ended at the 1-yard line on an incomplete pass and they drove to Randolph’s 21-yard line on their next drive, but another fourth pass is fallen incomplete.
“You have to give them credit, this kid kicked the ball well. We had some pressure that was untouched and he got rid of the ball before we got there. Brown said of the Wolfpack. “…They played it all the way and made it a game.”
Hind’s touchdown take made it 28-10; C/S/P’s Trent Burchanowski scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down to make it 28-18; and Hind closed the game with a 4-yard touchdown with 1:41 left.
“I thought our guys had a fight tonight” Harper said. “There were definitely things we could have done better on both sides of the ball.”
The top spot in Class D will be on the line again next week as Randolph travels to Franklinville to face the Titans, who beat Wilson 36-16 on Friday.
“Every game is important” Hind said, “but these two games with the rivals are huge.”
Clymer/Sherman/Panama 0 10 0 8 — 18
Randolph 8 6 7 14 — 35
Ran-Slade Race 15 (Adams Race)
C/S/P – Hinsdale 24 field goal
Race Ran–Conley 8 (failed pass)
C/S/P–Barmore 42 Catanese pass (Hinsdale kick)
Ran – Conley 1 run (Nelson kick)
Ran – Hind 16 Conley pass (Nelson kick)
C/S/P–Burchanowski 1 leg (Hinsdale pass from Catanese)
Ran – Hind 4 run (Nelson kick)