Chardon OH- A long journey for the (0-1) St. Francis Red Raiders as they faced (2-1) Chardon Hilltoppers from Chardon Memorial Stadium.
Saint Francis would send it away to Chardon, a pooch kick recovery was muffed giving the Red Raiders possession. In just a few plays Landon Welka connected with Jeremiah Neely for a 26-yard touchdown strike. Chardon this time able to recover the kick, and their possession would begin promising. Will Francis would call his own number on a flurry of QB keepers. Eventually the Red Raider defense would get home as Brady Greenough sacked Francis on 4th down, giving the ball back to his offense. The Saint Francis drive would end after Terrence Pendergrass would fall in the backfield, losing 4 yards and forcing a punt. Three more keeper attempts from Francis would net no first down for Chardon, as they punted it back to the Raiders. The Hilltopper defense would come through, forcing another punt giving the offense the ball, taking us into the 2nd quarter.
A 16-yard gainer by AJ Bruce set up a 48-yard house call for Drago Jujakila, tying the game at 7 early on in the 2nd quarter.
A short-lived offensive possession by Saint Francis as they turned it over on downs. It didnt take long, Drago hit pay dirt again, bumping the Hilltopper lead to 14-7. A big gainer on a catch by Domone Allen of 50 yards brought life to the Raider offense. An offensive pass interference and personal foul on consecutive plays back St. Francs up to 2nd and 40 from their own 39. A 10-yard gain set them up with 3rd and 30, Velka's pass sailed incomplete forcing a punt. Will Francis and Leo Colombi connect for a 31 yard pass, and a 12 yard reception. With the ball inside the 5, down at the 2 yard line, Francis took the snap and handed to Colombi on the jet sweep as he scored to cap off a three score 2nd quarter for the Chardon offense.
Saint Francis would begin their drive from the Chardon 46, following a good kickoff return. The Hilltoppers would cap off the half as Alexander Ash dropped Landon Velka in the backfield. Ash has had a dominating start to the year, he continued it tonight. The Toppers capped off the half leading 21-7.
A strong opening drive by the Red Raiders, getting inside the Topper redzone for the first time of the evening. A phenomenal Chardon defensive stand with their backs to the Chardon Crazies would put the ball back in their hands. On 2nd & goal from the two, Austin Green would come flying out of nowhere to drop Pendergrass for a loss of 6. With no gain on 3rd down, Alexander Ash sacked Pelka, giving the ball back to the Hilltoppers.
A pair of good runs by AJ Bruce and Vinny Colombi got Chardon out of their own endzone, but a stand made by the Raiders, forcing another punt. Caden Peterson burst through the line, blocking the punt as Beckett Dotson recovered it in the endzone for a special teams touchdown. Another defensive stand following the punt block, this time AJ Bruce muffed the punt, as it was recovored by Saint Francis from the Topper 21-yard line. It didnt take long, Kion Ulanga connected with Jeremiah Neely for an 18-yard touchdown reception. With possession again and a chance to strike back, Chardon would cough it up, Drago Vujakila fumbled it. The Topper defense forced another turnover on downs. Both teams scored in the third with Chardon leading 28-14
Just 7 seconds into the 4th quarter, Will Francis ripped off a big 31-yard gainer, closing in on the red zone. Another good stand from Saint Francis had the Toppers unable to convert on 4th down, turning the ball back over. Austin Green dropped Kion Ulanga in the backfield for a loss. Shortly thereafter he attempted a screen pass, that was snuffed out by Alexander Ash again, forcing a Red Raider punt. The strong running game continued to be in full effect, Francis and Colombi drive Chardon down the field, inside enemy territory at the 15. Will Francis would take the snap, cut right and make his way to the end zone, breaking tackles as he scored.
Now leading 35-14, Chardon looked to put the game away. But Kion Ulanga connected with Jermiah Neely two times for a total of 63 yards. From the 30-yard line, Johan Vasquez hit pay dirt capping off a hard fought game by the Saint Franics Red Raiders.
That would put a button on a gritty, hard nosed win by Chardon, moving to 3-1 on the season as the head to Columbus to face Bishop Waterson next Friday. Saint Francis would fall to 0-2, and head back home to Hamburg New York, before the travel to play Cathedral Prep in PA.
Will Francis: 15ATT 122YDS TD
Drago Vujakila: 5ATT 91YDS 2TD
AJ Bruce: 8ATT 32YDS TD
Alexander Ash: 2SCKS
Austin Green: 2TFL
Caleb Hewitt: 2ATT 5YDS TD