Scotland County road a pair of Will Fromm bombs and three Schuyler County turnovers to a 31-8 victory in Queen City on Friday night.
The big plays were the difference in what was otherwise a fairly even matchup, as demonstrated by a nearly scoreless second half.
The Tigers did nearly all of their heavy lifting in the opening two quarters, starting right out of the gates with a 10-play 76-yard scoring drive. Fromm got things rolling with a 27-yard run on the second play from scrimmage. Jayden Payne and Jace Morrow also moved the chains as SCR-I moved down the field solely on rushing plays. The drive was capped off by a three-yard TD run by Fromm. Gage Dodge made the point after attempt to put SCR-I on top 7-0 with 7:55 left in the opening period.
The Rams looked poised to answer, putting together a 13-play drive that put Schuyler County in the red zone. But Luke Triplett and Stephen Terrill combined to stop quarterback Riley Veatch for a short gain before Matthew Woods tackled Easten Kerby for a four-yard loss to back up the Rams. Finally on fourth down, Parker Triplett broke up a pass play and Gage Dodge grabbed the deflected pass out of the air for an interception, returning it to the 27-yard line. A blocking penalty on the return backed up SCR-I, but that didn’t matter.
On the very next play, Fromm connected with Woods on a fly pattern down the left sideline and the receiver ran away from the defender for a 84-yard touchdown. Dodge’s PAT kick pushed the lead to 14-0 with 2:30 left in the first period.
The Rams responded with a 16-play scoring drive that ate up nearly eight minutes off the clock. The key play was a third down and 14 conversion that saw Veatch connect with Coy Farley to set up first and goal. The senior QB did the rest, running the ball in from three-yards out with. He then hit Cody Amen for the two-point conversion to trim SCR-I’s lead to 14-8 with 6:01 remaining in the second period.
Schuyler looked to maintain the momentum, backing the Tigers up into a 3rd down and 22 situation, but Fromm threaded the needle with a perfect pass between two defenders to Dodge for a 39-yard completion to turn the tables.
The junior quarterback moved the chains with an 11-yard run before Payne broke through the Rams defense for 17 yards. Dodge then ran the ball in for a 5-yard TD and added the PAT kick to extend the lead to 21-8 with 2:05 left in the first half.
With the long passing game working, SCR-I used its timeouts on defense hoping to get the ball back for one final scoring change.
That was exactly what happened as Schuyler County was forced to punt and SCR-I took over at the 24-yard line with just seven seconds on the clock.
That proved to be plenty of time as Fromm took the snap and scrambled up into the pocket, drawing the safeties up and freeing up a streaking Brett Monroe who beat the cornerback and sped into the center of the field wide open to haul in Fromm’s bomb for a 76-yard TD. Dodge added the PAT to make the score 28-7 at the half.
The two teams traded punts and fourth down defensive stops in the third period which was scoreless.
Schuyler County looked poised to mount a scoring drive early in the fourth period, but Parker Triplett stripped the Rams runner and Luke Triplett pounced on the fumble with 9:00 minutes left to play.
After another SCR-I punt, the Tigers’ defense again did the job stopping Schuyler County as Bryson Orton and Payne combined to stop Amen in the backfield on a fourth down try.
SCR-I put its final points on the board with a 10-play drive that featured an 18-yard pass play from Fromm to Monroe. But the drive stalled out in the red zone and the Tigers had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Dodge with 1:20 left to play that made the final score 31-8.
Eric Yabrough recovered a Rams’ fumble on the final drive to help secure the Cheddar Bowl trophy for Scotland County in the game that was played in memory of former Schuyler and Scotland County football standout Chester Robinson.
SCR-I finished with 355 yards of total offense led by the air attack. Fromm completed seven of 12 passes for 234 yards and two scores. Monroe caught three passes for 109 yards and a TD. Dodge had three grabs for 41 yards and Woods had the one reception, the 84-yard score.
Fromm ran the ball 11 times for 63 yards and a TD. Dodge had 30 yards and a TD on eight rushes and Morrow and Payne each rushed for more than 30 yards in a well-rounded attack.
Veatch completed six of 12 passes for 55 yards and one interception. He ran the ball 17 times for 40 yards. Wyatt Homer rushed 10 times for 42 yards and Cody Amen had 28 yards on 10 tries.
Payne led a solid team defensive effort with 12 tackles. Dodge made 10 stops and Terrill had eight stops and a sack. Bryson Orton made six tackles and recorded two sacks.
SCR-I (2-2) will host Salisbury (0-4) on Friday night for the Scotland County Homecoming. The Panthers lost at Carrollton 41-6.