CAREY - This just in: Tylor Pritchard is good.
And if Friday night is any indication, so is the rest of his supporting cast.
Pritchard rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another in Upper Sandusky's 26-12 beating of Carey on Friday night at C.D. Wentling Field.
"He still has a couple of blips and we're trying to work those out. But he's only a junior and he's still in the learning process. He's still young," Upper Sandusky coach Jake Moyer said. "Overall, he does a great job. He listens. He's a real tough competitor."
Pritchard rushed for 104 yards on 21 carries and was 15 of 26 passing for 168 yards.
Clearly he is enjoying Upper's switch to the spread offense.
"Spread is fun. I like it a lot. The running lanes, throwing the ball, it's a great offense," Pritchard said.
The victory marked the first time since 2007 that the Rams beat the Blue Devils.
"It feels great. We've been working all summer (for this)," Upper Sandusky running back Cory Frey said. "It's a lot more intensity this year."
Frey was responsible for the Rams first score, a 27-yard pass from Pritchard.
"My first touchdown I had felt amazing," Frey said. "It's my first touchdown of my high school career and against Carey, there's no better way to do it."
That was the only score of the first half, something Carey coach Todd Worst said was a blessing.
"I wasn't real impressed with our first half," he said. "You don't want to be happy about being behind, but it was only 6-0. There was life there and I thought our kids made some plays."
But that margin was short lived as Pritchard scored a pair of 3-yard touchdowns in the third to open up a 20-0 lead with 2:37 left.
The latter of two touchdowns came after a 15-minute delay in the game as trainers attended to Carey's Brandon Zechman.
As he and teammate Austin Tschanen collided with Frey while tackling him, Zechman's elbow got lodged in Tschanen's facemask. It required trainers using a hacksaw to cut through the top bar of the facemask to free Zechman's elbow, who was later taken to the hospital.
"I don't know how badly he's hurt. He had some movement and stuff," Worst said. "I don't think I've ever seen anybody's elbow stuck in a helmet."
Carey turned on the scoring siren shortly after as Matt Holsinger, who rushed for 99 yards on the night, busted off a 55-yard jaunt to the end zone with 1:31 left in the third.
The Blue Devils (0-1) turned around and saw Justin Meek intercept Pritchard to get the ball back one play into the fourth quarter.
Ten plays later, Holsinger connected with a wide open Tyler Stoops for a 26-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 20-12.
But the Rams (1-0) answered the bell with a huge kick return from Alex Kenner, who returned it from the Upper 22 to the Carey 36, with Terry Nordyke making the touchdown-saving tackle. But the tackle only delayed the inevitable as the Rams drove those final 36 yards in six plays, with Pritchard scoring from six yards out with 3:57 to go.
"I look at myself as the leader of the team, so if anybody has to carry it for us, it's got to be me, so I (have) to secure the football and play smart," Pritchard said.
Worst said the QB's size makes him a problem.
"He's about the same size as his linemen, so it makes him a tough runner," Worst said.
The Blue Devils' final drive petered out at the Upper 46, sealing the victory for the Rams.
"We played well for about a 15-minute segment, from the end of the third to the middle of the fourth. Other than that, I don't think we performed as well as we could have," Worst said. "Upper had a lot of experience coming back and they had some big kids. You could see when they stood up across from one another, it was pretty obvious there was a little size advantage. We've had that size advantage in the past and it's something we're going to have to deal with. With the inexperience we had, I thought our kids came back in the second half and played pretty well."
One of those big kids was Pritchard's favorite target: Tristan Reichelderfer, who had six catches for 70 yards.
Pritchard said he and his teammates had this game circled for a while.
"It's awesome to beat Carey. Any time you beat Carey, it's amazing," Pritchard said. "They're our rivals. We've been working for this ever since last year, since game 10, it's been 'Carey.' The first game is Carey. Let's start working. People were in the weight room every day. I wrestle for football. Every takedown is a tackle."
Moyer said Carey was a measuring stick for his club.
"This is the one we've been pointing to all winter long. If we're going to establish ourselves as a good football team, we have to beat Carey," Moyer said. "So that's been the common theme through our preseason work."
Moyer said he's glad he won't be around to see this Blue Devils squad in a few years.
"I'm glad I'm retiring in a couple years because (Carey) is going to be too good to play," Moyer said. "They're going to be really good in a couple of years."