UTICA — The Utica Redskins put the lights out early on the visiting Danville Blue Devils, scoring three first-half touchdowns as they coasted to a 27-6 win in Mid-Buckeye Conference football action Friday.
“We knew Danville was better than their record,” said Utica coach Randy Felumlee. “It was important for us to jump on them early, and I’m glad we did.”
Led through the muck and the mud by quarterback Jason Hoar, the Redskins rolled up 411 yards of total offense. Hoar threw for 200 of those yards, including a 21-yard TD pass to junior Scott Cline on the Redskins first possession of the game.
“Defensively, I thought we had a good game plan going in, but the Hoar kid’s pretty good,” said Danville coach Charlie Duncan. “We took some bad angles on him, and you can’t do that. The mud didn’t help that, either — slipping and sliding.”
The Redskins were well prepared for the field conditions.
“There’s been a couple of times in practice where we’ve used wet, muddy balls on purpose for that reason,” said Felumlee. “The center has got to get the ball back to [Hoar] and we only had one bad snap all night. All in all, our handling of the ball was great.”
Utica got it right back and wasted no time adding to their lead. On second-and-10 from their own 42, Hoar, running with the ball, pitched it to tailback Justin Newsome, who broke free and ran it down the right side for a touchdown.
“They got a couple of scores on us,” said Duncan. “It’s kind of hard to battle back from being down 20-0 at halftime.”
Hoar added a pair of scoring runs in the second and third quarters. Meanwhile, the Redskins’ defense stopped the Blue Devils cold, allowing only 39 yards on the ground in the first half.
The statistic that made Felumlee smile was the number of turnovers for Utica — zero.
“Well, it is kind of strange to turn it over seven times last week and none tonight,” said Felumlee. “We played well under the [soggy] conditions. I thought maybe turnovers would be a big issue, but we were able to hang onto the ball somehow.”
The heavens opened up at halftime and the driving rain that greeted the players coming out of the locker rooms only made the field conditions worse. Hoar kept it on the ground a little more, running for 100 of his 147 yards in the second half. After the half, Hoar was 5-for-7 through the air for 59 of his 200 passing yards.
“We were able to throw the ball OK under the bad conditions these last three or four weeks,” said Felumlee. “[The slippery field] kind of hurt our blocking, but we were able to move the ball efficiently and we were able to play good defense. As long as you’re playing good defense, you’ll be fine. I wish we didn’t have so many penalties but, beside that, I don’t have too many complaints.”
The Redskins had nine penalties for 75 yards.
Danville’s defense also did a little better in the second half, stopping one Redskins’ drive in the third quarter on fourth down at their own 3 to get the ball back.
The Blue Devils’ only score came late in the fourth, when Durbin took it in from the six.
“We started to get it going there in the second half,” said Duncan. “We kept [Utica’s] offense off the field. We punched one in there late. We tightend up on defense in the second half and kept Hoar in front of us better. We only gave up seven points in the second half.”