Margaretta Hedden in right direction after beating H-L in SBC play
BASCOM — Earlier this week, Hopewell-Loudon coach Brian Colatruglio said his team had to improve in stopping the run if it wanted to make noise.
After watching his team allow 222 yards and four touchdowns to Margaretta tailback Brycetyn Hedden in a 42-14 loss Friday in Bascom, the Chieftains coach was succinct.
“We didn’t,” he said.
Hedden carried the ball 20 times, breaking off three rushes of more than 30 yards.
“Coming in, we knew up front we had an advantage,” said Margaretta coach Todd Pooch. “We wanted to try to run the ball more, because (Hopewell-Loudon) is explosive. They’ve got some really nice receivers, their quarterback gets rid of the ball, they are extremely well coached. So we wanted to keep the ball out of their hands.”
That was the plan, but Hedden’s big runs and the Polar Bears’ big-play ability made it so Hopewell-Loudon had the ball more often.
Mitch Raifsnider, a practically uncoverable 6-foot-8 receiver, caught six passes for 74 yards. That included a 10-yard touchdown reception. Raifsnider also hauled in a 23-yard would-be touchdown that was called back because the officials ruled quarterback Spencer Michel was past the line of scrimmage when he threw the pass.
But Michel found other receivers for big plays. A 28-yard pass to Tallen Kennedy set up the Polar Bears first touchdown, and Clay Tescher was the target on a beautiful throw down the right sideline that went for a 42-yard score.
“Spencer’s a first-year quarterback,” Pooch said. “And, he’s growing up.”
Michel finished 10 of 14 for 157 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“We were outmanned,” Colatruglio said. “They were more physical up front than we were. We got a couple stops here and there, but our margin for error on offense is pretty thin. We have to finish drives and keep matching scores to have a chance to win.”
For much of the first half, it appeared Hopewell-Loudon might do it. Margaretta got the ball first, and the drive ended abruptly when Nate Cook picked off a Michel pass and returned it 45 yards to the end zone.
Margaretta answered with two touchdowns, but Hopewell-Loudon tied the game on its first drive of the second quarter, using an 11-play, 80-yard drive. Travis Milligan — who finished the game with eight catches for 134 yards — caught a pass from Ashton Bour and ran untouched to the end zone for a 25-yard score with 6:25 to go in the half.
Margaretta answered with a quick touchdown to go up 22-14, but Hopewell-Loudon was driving into Polar Bear territory before a it fumbled and Margaretta recovered.
The Polar Bears scored right before the half and led 30-14 at the break.
“They’re a tough matchup,” Colatruglio said of Margaretta. “They do some really good things.”
Hopewell-Loudon fell to 1-4, 1-1 in the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division. Margaretta, after losses to Seneca East and Western Reserve to start the season, has won three straight games and is 2-0 in the SBC River.
“This is a big win for us,” Pooch said.