On a beautiful night for football at Miami Trace High School Friday, the Chillicothe Cavaliers scored early and often against the Panthers and came away with a convincing 42-7 victory.
Early in the first quarter following a punt by the Panthers, the Cavaliers took the ball on their opening drive and scored on a trick play. The Chillicothe quarterback, Branden Maughmer, handed off to wide receive J’Quan Harris, who looked like he was going to attempt to run the ball around the right side.
Instead, Harris stopped and threw a nice pass to a wide open Zach Coats, who was streaking down the field. The result was a 60-yard touchdown for Chillicothe and a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, the Panthers tried to get something going on a third down conversion with a nice throw from quarterback Tyler Taylor to wide receiver Brady Wallace. The drive eventually stalled however, and the Panthers were forced to punt.
Wallace, a senior, had an impressive all-around game for Miami Trace in running, catching and returning kicks.
A roughing the punter penalty on the Panthers kept the Cavaliers’ next drive alive and they capitalized with a touchdown. A read option hand-off to fullback Connor Mathis resulted in him making a couple defenders miss and getting into the end zone.
A short time later, Chillicothe scored again when wide receiver Will Roderick made a leaping catch on the sideline and then turned up field for a 65-yard touchdown. The two point conversion failed and it was 20-0 Cavaliers.
Following an interception by free safety Payton Shoemaker, the Cavs once again hit a big pass play. This time, Maughmer connected with Harris again for a 35-yard touchdown. Maughmer then hit Cameron Cook for a successful two-point conversion to make it 28-0.
Miami Trace made an effort to score before halftime when they took over on their own 27 yard line with 1:25 to go in the second quarter. A couple of nice runs by Wallace and Taylor pushed the Panthers across midfield. Wallace followed that up with a run around right end for about 20 yards.
Taylor completed a pass to wide receiver Coby Hughes and Taylor ran for a first down to get the Panthers down to the eight yard line with four seconds left. However, a pass fell incomplete in the right corner of the end zone as time expired in the first half.
The second half opened with a big kick return by Chillicothe’s Shoemaker to the Miami Trace 40 yard line. The Cavaliers then put the game out of reach with a 31 yard run up the middle for a touchdown by Mathis.
After taking the 35-0 lead, there was a running clock for the remainder of the game due to an Ohio High School Athletic Association rule.
The Cavaliers got the ball back and scored again with 2:17 to go in the third quarter on a touchdown pass to Roderick. After the extra point, it was a 42-0 score.
The Panthers’ only scoring drive came after MT defensive back Malik Jackson made a nice hit on the quarterback on a fourth down play. Miami Trace took over at the Chillicothe 46 yard line.
A couple of penalties on the Cavaliers assisted the Panthers as they moved down the field with just a couple of minutes to play. On a fourth and 10 play, Wallace took a pitch, ran around the left end and raced down the sideline for a well-deserved 17-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good and from there, Chillicothe ran out the clock.
Following the game, the head coach for the Panthers, Jerry Williams, said he was disappointed in his team’s effort.
“I think that this was one of those games where we didn’t play today,” said Williams. “If it was one of those games where you traveled, then we didn’t even get on the bus. I can’t really take anything positive out of this game right now. We have to look in the mirror and evaluate this performance and see where we go from here. We had two games where we came back and played well against McClain and then played well against Jackson. But I don’t have an answer as to what happened today until I sit down and watch the film.”
Miami Trace dropped to 1-7 overall and 1-2 in the Frontier Athletic Conference. Chillicothe improved to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in the FAC. Next Friday, the Panthers travel to Hillsboro and Chillicothe travels to Washington Court House.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica