Hard-nosed, smashmouth running by Amherst’s offense is what kept the football team unbeaten Friday in a 28-7 win over North Ridgeville.
Both teams’ offenses endured prolonged lulls with first quarter drives ending in punts, but the Comets pulled away in the second quarter when a 17-yard throw by quarterback Matt Fairchild was caught by running back Khennedy Scagliozzo.
Another successful hand-off inched the team closer to the end zone. Amherst lined up at the eight yard line before Scagliozzo ripped through the Rangers defense and scored the first touchdown of the game. Senior kicker Allen Matakovich’s PAT made it 7-0.
Amherst punched another one in on a third down on a seven-yard run by Scagliozzo, making it 14-0 with 4:32 left in the half.
The energy was sky-high for the Comets in the second quarter, thanks to packed home stands and a tie-dye studded senior section. A kickoff by the Rangers was caught by wide receiver Evan Shawver, who dashed for 30 yards before being tackled at the 40 yard line.
The adrenaline-hyped running didn’t stop.
A smooth pass from Fairchild set Scagliozzo off smoking for a 35-yard touchdown. Egged on by Steele high school students, the Amherst cheerleading squad dropped to the ground for a round of 21 pushups.
A few plays later, North Ridgeville intercepted a throw by Fairchild, setting up at the 50 yard line. A successful pass sent the Rangers on a long-winded run down the field, advancing 38 yards before penalties and the Comets defense halted their progress.
Scagliozzo kept the ball rolling with an early touchdown in fourth quarter, sweeping through a first down on the three yard line. The score hit 28-0 with 10:24 left in the game.
Lined up at the 20, the Rangers completed a 19-yard pass to advance to the nine yard line, getting Ridgeville on the board with a Forrest Croxton touchdown reception, making the score 28-7 with 8:16 left.
The Comets tried to squeeze in three more points, but a field goal attempt turned sour.
“It was a team win,” said head coach Mike Passerrello. “The offense had spurts and the defense had spurts at different times, whether it was a big play in the first half interception-wise for our defense, or in the third quarter when our offense went on almost a nine-minute drive.”
The Comets travel this week to Midview. The middies are also 3-0 this season. coming off a 42-6 win over North Olmsted.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.