FREMONT – On paper, one wondered how Fremont Ross, a team filled with first-year starters and underclassmen and riding a five-game losing streak, could compete with an undefeated state power entering the game as the No. 3-ranked team in Division II by the Associated Press?
About as well as could be realistically expected, as it turned out.
Central Catholic powered its way through the Little Giants on Ross’ Homecoming Night. The Fighting Irish scored on big plays on offense while its defense yielded little to Ross’ while the special teams blocked multiple punts as the Irish rolled to a 50-6 victory over Ross.
“What we expected out of the kids tonight was to compete, play hard and don’t quit and play,” Ross coach Chad Long said. “They didn’t back down. We also got banged up a lot, we got a whole list of injuries, but the key point was, the next guy filled in and the next guy did OK.”
Central kickoff its scoring early in the first quarter when Irish senior Randy Williams blocked a punt, scooped up the bouncing football and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.
The Irish extended its lead on the second play of its next drive when Jamie Johnson ripped off a 46-yard touchdown run. Prentiss Reason scored on an 11-yard run in the final minute of the first quarter to put Ross into a 20-0 hole.
The second quarter was much the same, as the Ross offense struggled for positive yardage against an aggressive Irish defense which controlled the line of scrimmage. Central scored a safety on a blocked Ross punt which went out the back of its end zone and on a 56-yard touchdown pass to lead 29-0 at halftime.
“It’s hard to block when they have six or seven guys, blitzing,” Long said. “We don’t have much time and we had some bad snaps. It’s a bunch of little things we just have to get better at. …We got to get the perfect snap we have to get rid of the ball quick and we didn’t have that combination happening the while night. Whether Cyrus (Lagrou) or Kaden Holmes, it was always a bobble or something happening that we couldn’t get the pass off.”
Central scored again to instigate a running clock midway through the third quarter.
The Little Giants, however, managed to get on the scoreboard late in the fourth. With Kaden Holmes in at quarterback, he connected on back-to-back pass plays to Dion Bradley for gains of 19 and 30 yards to penetrate into Central territory for only the second time of the night. Then Holmes found Spencer Price in the end zone, who made a nice play on the ball to haul in a 24-yard touchdown catch.
The drive, which traveled 72 yards, is the reason Ross finished the night with 40 yards of total offense to its credit.
Holmes, along with another freshman, running back Kalijah Pickens, making his varsity debut, gave the Little Giants positivity to build upon, as Pickens rushed eight times for 37 yards. Holmes competed 4-of-6 passes for 84 yards.
“(Pickens) ran hard and aggressive, I’m impressed by what he did,” Long said. “Kaden gave us a spark in the second half. We knew it was time to get a little bit of a rotation in there.”
While Central Catholic finished with 397 yards of offense, Long liked how his defense held the Irish in check at times through the night.
“We knew they’re a high-powered, great, traditional football team,” Long said. “The score doesn’t indicate exactly how close the game really was. You take away 16 points on special (team)s and a pick-6 and anther 7 points off of that long run on our JV kids, our defense is giving up 27 points a pretty darn good team that put up 42 against Whitmer’s defense.”
The Little Giants (1-7 overall, 0-5 TRAC) travel to Whitmer (7-1, 4-1).
Toledo Central Catholic 50, Fremont Ross 6
Score by quarters
CC|20 – 9 – 7 – 14 50
FR| 0 – 0 – 0 – 6 6
CC – Randy Williams punt block return (Andrew Dockett kick), 8:49
CC – Jamie Johnson 46 run (Dockett kick), 6:25
CC – Prentiss Reason 11 run (kick fail), 0:41
CC – Safety
CC – Tae’Shaun Johnson 56 pass from Bishop Vargas (Dockett), 3:29
CC – T. Johnson 32 run (Dockett kick), 5:32
CC – Liam Brown 20 interception return (Cole Tishler kick), 6:28
FR – Spencer Price 24 pass from Kaden Price (kick blocked), 2:18
CC – Greg Bond 72 run (Tishler kick), 1:15