Usually ball control and clock management are keys to winning in football.
Randolph had different ideas Friday night. The Rams’ offense did not have the ball for very long periods of time, but they had very little trouble putting points on the board. Randolph relied on the big play, scoring quick and fast, and defeated Roxbury 31-3 before a homecoming crowd on Senior Night, in the final home game for Randolph this year.
Randolph, which entered the game with 62 power points ranking them sixth, needed a victory to lock up a North 1 Group IV playoff spot. Friday night’s victory should clinch them a spot in the postseason, and potentially puts Randolph in position to host a home game.
Randolph’s quick strike ability came through the run, the pass, and a little trickery.
The Rams jumped out to a 7-0 lead on their first possession as they marched downfield, keeping the Roxbury defense off balance as the Rams mixed the pass with the run. A nine-play drive was keyed by two third-down conversions that kept the drive alive. Quarterback Connor Logoyda capped the drive with a 19-yard pass to Sean Murphy, who caught the scoring strike over the middle.
Randolph appeared to have a second touchdown on its next possession, but a 64-yard touchdown run by freshman Carlo Zarro was called back due to a holding call. Zarro’s run was a sign of things to come as Randolph showed they could score on the Gaels’ defense from anywhere on the field at any time.
In the second quarter, Roxbury kept control of the ball for a 15-play, 55-yard drive that took 6:36 off the clock. But Randolph’s defense rose to the occasion as cornerback Nick Kratchovil broke up a potential touchdown pass in the end zone, forcing Roxbury to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Jack Clevenger.
Despite Roxbury having the ball for 14:16 in the first half as opposed to Randolph’s 9:44, the Rams were able to score two touchdowns in the first half on possessions that took only one play each.
After Clevenger’s field goal, Randolph answered back 20 seconds later when Logoyda connected with James Bertelle on a 61-yard scoring pass on the first play from scrimmage. Bertelle came out of the backfield, caught a pass behind the Roxbury secondary around and outraced two Gaels defensive backs to the end zone to give Randolph a 14-3 lead.
“Tonight we were focusing on trying to go at them on first down,” Logoyda said. “We had been working in practice on the passing game. They knew we were going to come out running so we thought we could catch them off guard. We have a lot of great receiving talent. They got open and it is my job to deliver.”
Logoyda finished the first half completing 4-of-4 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. For the evening Logoyda was 6-of-8 for 145 yards and three touchdowns
“He is making his reads now, and that is the key,” Randolph coach Joe Lusardi said. “He is seeing the field better, and seeing what is happening on the field better, and reacting to it.”
When Roxbury scored on Clevenger’s field goal, the drive had been kept alive due to a late hit by Brennan Corcoran on a fourth down pass that was incomplete and would have turned the ball back over to Randolph. Corcoran would atone for his mistake late in the second quarter with two big plays.
With under two minutes left, Corcoran blocked a Shawn Leydon punt attempt giving Randolph the ball at the Roxbury 21. Once again, the Rams scored on their first play from scrimmage as Logoyda passed the ball backwards to James Bertelle, who on the halfback option, lofted a pass to Corcoran who was all alone in the end zone to give Randolph a 21-3 lead going into halftime.
“I was down after the penalty, but the blocked punt turned it around and gave us the momentum,” Corcoran said. “We definitely wanted to win this as seniors as this is our last game on the home field. Hopefully now we can get a home field game in the playoffs.”
In addition to his touchdown pass, Bertelle rushed for 53 yards on six carries.
Randolph continued their trend of scoring quick and fast in the third quarter. Following a Roxbury punt, the Rams started out on their 38 yard line. A 19-yard run by Bertelle was followed by a 43-yard pass from Logoyda to Corcoran that increased Randolph’s lead to 28-3. The touchdown strike was Logoyda’s third of the evening and Corcoran’s second.
“We have the big play capability,” Lusardi said. “Up to tonight, we hadn’t been clicking, but it is there, and today we did. This team can play.”
Randolph’s defense gave no chance for Roxbury to get back into the game. After stopping Roxbury on downs, a Gaels punt attempt was foiled when Brian Gleason and Elijah Blackmon corralled Leydon, giving Randolph the ball at the Roxbury 25. The Rams would add to their lead with a 42-yard field goal by Frank Raggo.
Blackmon would lead Randolph on defense with two sacks of Gaels quarterback Grant Dixon. Dixon was held to only 4-of-12 for 33 yards on the night.
RR- Connor Logoyda 19 pass to Sean Murphy (Frank Raggo kick)
RG- Jack Clevenger 27 FG
RR- Connor Logoyda 61 pass to James Bertelle (Frank Raggo kick)
RR- James Bertelle 21 pass to Brennan Corcoran (Frank Raggo kick)
RR- Connor Logoyda 43 pass to Brennan Corcoran (Frank Raggo Kick)
RR-Frank Raggo 42 FG