UTICA — Fredericktown has won every game against former Mid-Buckeye Conference foe Utica going back to 2005, and the Freddies made it 11 in a row with a 21-12 nonconference victory over the Redskins at a soggy Redskins Stadium.
With bouts of steady rain on and off throughout the entire game, Fredericktown controlled the clock with long possessions and made just enough key plays to hang on for the win.
The Freddies (3-1) gave the Utica defense a heavy dose of senior tailback Brendan Reed, who had 33 carries for 175-yards and two touchdowns.
Reed put the Freddies on the board first with only :30 left in the first quarter when he punched it in from 2-yards on third-and-goal, capping off a 12-play, 66-yard drive.
Utica answered right back with a 12-play drive of its own, and made it a one-point game after a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brad potes. The point after sailed wide left leaving Utica down 7-6.
On the very next possession, the slippery conditions came into play when Fredericktown quarterback Dillon Smith fumbled the ball and Utica’s defensive tackle Matt Moore scooped it up.
The 270-pound junior rumbled up the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown to give the Redskins a 12-7 lead with 4:56 left in the second quarter, this time failing to convert a 2-point try.
“I looked up and saw Mitch (Marston) and he gave me that get away block, from there I tucked it down tight and hoped for the best,” Moore said.
The Freddies, however, went back to pounding the ball and ate up nearly the rest of the quarter on the following drive, setting up a crucial 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line with only :30 left in the half.
Reed again slipped through the Redskins goal-line defense to regain the 14-12 lead going into halftime.
“The kids made the call on that play, they wanted it,” Fredericktown coach Will Hartley said. “Reed said I’m gonna get it in, they won’t stop me.”
The Freddies defense did not allow Utica to score again, and Smith made it a two-possession game when on a zone read play he ran for a 26-yard touchdown, the final points scored in the game to give them the 21-12 lead at the 4:07 mark in the third quarter.
In addition to his touchdown, Smith had 81-yards rushing and 67-yards passing.
“We were having a little trouble with the snap under center so we went back to the gun so we could get some read back in the running game,” Hartley said. “Reed and Smith, it was a really good 1-2 punch.”
The Redskins (1-2) were able to move the ball on the ground but could never get anything going through the air, finishing the game with only 18-yards passing.
Pierce Piazza led Utica with 71-yards rushing and Crew Young added 63-yards.
The first year Utica head coach did not mince words when describing the Redskins passing game.
“It’s painful, when you watch us try and throw the football it’s painful,” Brian Gastin said.
“We are not going to put massive points on the board unless you can throw the ball enough to loosen up the box. We are still going to move the ball, but this offense has the capabilities of exploding when they can mature into this new offense.”
Gastin is optimistic going into LCL league play though, with their first league game next week hosting Lakewood.
“There are people that can help us a great deal by taking over and that’s what we are looking for,” he said.