By Bill Bray
SANDUSKY – A dominating third quarter allowed the Little Giants to improve to 3-0 during the 117th meeting with the Sandusky Blue Streaks at Cedar Point Stadium with a 42-21 victory.
After Ross had jumped out to a 21-13 halftime lead, the Purple and White outscored Sandusky 14-0 in the third period to all but put the game away.
The first score of the contest came on yet another “scoop and score” play. Three straight weeks now the Giants have used a fumble recover for a touchdown to give themselves a boost. This time around it was Bryson Hammer who picked up the Sandusky fumble and raced 69 yards for the endzone. Carter Rodriguez was good with the extra point and with just over a minute into the contest, the Giants were up 7-0. “Yeh, Bryson had a beautiful scoop and score tonight for the defense,” a happy Chad Long said after the game.“ Hammer’s return of the fumble rates fifth longest in program history.
The Ross defense rose to the occasion shutting out Sandusky on their next drive. With the ball on the Fremont Ross 28, Kaden “All Ohio” Holmes led his team down the field. Plays included a 15-yard strike to Hammer and a 35-yard pass to Elijah Simms put the ball on the Sandusky 8-yard line. Holmes called his own number, and the senior leader carried the ball the final distance to put Ross up 13-0 with 6:09 left in the opening quarter.
Taking the ball over on their own 34-yard line, the Streaks were able to build a scoring drive of their own. Mo Armstrong was the work horse during the march. The drive ate up 6:52 of the second quarter culminating in a 3-yard plunge from Armstrong to close the Ross lead to 13-7.
Ross, with their experience and talent, answered back with an eight-play drive covering 67 yards. The final four yards came on a hand off to Kelandre Jones. Ross, after missing an extra point earlier, went for two and was successful with a pass from Bryson Hammer to Kaden Holmes to give Ross a 21-7 advantage with 8:39 remaining in the first half of play.
The young and hungry Streaks used little time to answer right back. Armstrong again finding holes in the Ross defense, led the five-play drive gaining 26 of the 39 yards. The other big play during the drive came when quarterback Jason Henlon found Amir Aaron for a 29-yard pass play putting the ball on the Ross seven-yard line. From there, it was another Henlon pass this time to Dre Campbell covering the final seven yards to keep the Streaks in the contest at 21-13 with 7:01 remaining in the half.
Fremont’s next drive stalled, and the Streaks were back in command. Starting at midfield, the Streaks used Henlon passes to Bonner and another to Aaron covering a total of 34 yards laying the ball to rest at the Ross five-yard line. Unfortunately for the Streaks, the penalty bug began to bite. What once was a first and goal on the five-yard line became a fourth and goal from the 28. On the fourth down play, the Streaks were intercepted by Anthony Vann to end the scoring threat.
After the break, the Giants all but sealed the victory in the third quarter as they put together a drive to start the quarter that chewed up 6:28 off the clock. Holmes led the assault as he found Hammer for an eight-yard catch. Then the signal caller ran for nine yards to keep the drive alive with a first down. Holmes then found Adam Hrynciw for 18 yards putting the ball on the 26-yard line. Holmes used his legs on the next play as he rambled for 14 yards down to the Sandusky 12. After a 16-yard pass play, Holmes took the ball in from three yards out and Ross was up 28-13 seemingly taking the wind out of the Streaks sails.
On Sandusky’s next drive another Ross interception turned the ball over on the Ross 18-yard line. That scoring drive ended with Holmes again. “Anthony Vann had three interceptions for us tonight, he really stepped up,” Long added. This time the signal caller scampered in from 37 yards out. Rodriguez’s kick was good and with 1:38 left in the third period Ross built a comfortable 35-13 lead.
Sandusky put together one more scoring drive. Sandusky never rolled over and played dead during this battle. The young Streaks had that ‘never say die’ attitude. Proven by the fact that on their next possession, taking over on the Fremont 42, Armstrong supplied the winning attitude by accumulating 32 of the 42 yards cutting into the Ross lead one more time. Armstrong’s score made it a 14 point game at 35-21 with 10:08 left in the contest.
On the first Holmes pass on the ensuing drive, Sandusky’s Damarion Westbrook intercepted. The Streaks could not capitalize on the turnover. With a fourth and two the Giant defense rose to the occasion and stopped the Streaks on their own 20-yard line. Ross took possession and as all good teams do, they capitalized on the great field position as Holmes ran to paydirt from 13 yards out for the final score of the game.
Statistically, Sandusky with Mo Armstrong had the night’s leading rusher. Armstrong carried the ball 26 times gaining 181 yards. Amir Aaron caught two passes for 52 yards. “Our defense bent a lot tonight but did not break,” Long added.
Offensively for Ross, Kaden Holmes was not to be denied as the senior All-Ohioan collected four rushing touchdowns and ended the night with 165 yards on 17 carries. He was 16-25 passing for 210 yards although he did get picked off twice. Bryson Hammer led the Ross receiving corps. with nine catches for 92 yards. “Our offense struggled or sputtered a little tonight, but we still were able to run the ball, Long said. “Kaden Holmes was his flashy self and Kelandre (Jones) brought the power and ran hard for us. It was a great team effort tonight.”
Anthony Vann’s defensive night included six tackles, four of which were solo. He also added three interceptions. The senior defensive back finished with five picks all last season.