Utica 18, Loudonville 15
LOUDONVILLE — Utica had a pair of fourth-down defensive stands in the fourth quarter against Loudonville on Friday night to preserve its tie with Fredericktown atop the Mid-Buckeye Conference, 18-15.
The Redskins (4-2, 3-0) led 18-7 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Redbirds (3-3, 2-1) were driving. Loudonville worked its way to the 1-yard line for a fourth-and-goal opportunity with 10:00 minutes left, but Utica stopped the attempt at the one-half yard line to deny the score.
The Redbirds later scored on Jordan Lance’s 1-yard run with 6:45 to play to cut the lead to 18-15, and got the ball back for another chance. Loudonville drove to the Utica 26, but the Redskins skunked out a fourth-and-4 chance with 4:30 left in the game to return possession to Utica.
The teams had fought through a scoreless first quarter, but the Redskins found the end zone with 8:17 to play in the first half. Jason Hoar had a 5-yard TD run to give Utica a 6-0 lead. The Redbird took the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Utica 1-yard line before being tackled, leaving Lance with a short plunge to put Loudonville on top, 7-6. Utica regained the lead on its next drive on Scott Cline’s 65-yard touchdown reception at the 6:10 mark. The Redskins held a 12-7 halftime lead.
Cline and Hoar, already a record-setting tandem for Utica, connected again with 8:27 to play in the third quarter, this time from 33-yards out, for an 18-7 lead.
The Redskins had 323 total yards to 282 for the Redbirds. Hoar rushed 25 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, and completed 11-of-19 passes for 196 yards and two scores. Cline caught five passes for 150 yards and two more TDs, raising his season-record total to 10.
Utica will host its Homecoming game against Johnstown on Friday.