The Randolph Cardinals currently sit 3-0 on the season and have thrown just 11 total passes during those three victories.
You don’t really need to let it fly when you have a backfield that features Xander Hind and Luke Pagett.
The Cardinal rushing duo combined for just over 350 yards and five touchdowns to lead Randolph to a 44-28 road victory over Depew in a non-league battle of unbeatens on Friday night.
It was the Wildcats (2-1, 1-0) that took an early lead, 7-0, after Chris Peters capped off their opening drive with a quarterback sneak on the 1-yard line.
That was the only time Randolph (3-0, 1-0) would trail all night.
“This was an opportunity, and to come up here and play like this, it was awesome,” Cardinals coach Brent Brown said. “We still have some things to clean up, but our O-line took it to them. (Hind) ran hard, our fullbacks ran hard … it was good.”
Randolph got on the board with Hind’s first of two scores on the night, this one a 4-yard rush to put the Cardinals up 8-7. Two-point conversions were a big boost for the away side all game, as they converted on four-of-six attempts.
Then on the first play of the second quarter, Randolph’s only completed pass of the game resulted in a 20-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Carson Conley and receiver Jaiden Huntington. A sly play action fake fooled the Depew defense and left Huntington wide open, giving the Cardinals a 16-7 lead.
A chaotic rest of the quarter resulted in rushing touchdowns from Hind (10 yards) and Pagett (57 yards), as well as a 39-yard scamper from Depew’s Carson Alberti and 27-yard touchdown pass from Peters to Mohamed Khalil, leaving the halftime score at 32-22
When you have a lead in the second half of a football game, having rushing options that can see out the win is always useful. Pagett and Hind, with a few carries from junior Payton Slade as well, did just the trick for the Cardinals.
“They call us thunder and lightning, that’s all that’s going on right now,” said Pagett on his and Hind’s partnership. “The O-line came here and played their hearts out to give us a chance to win and run behind them, and we appreciate that.”
“We’re like brothers,” added Hind, who finished with close to 230 yards on 33 carries, to go along with his two scores. “You can’t play like this in a game if you don’t practice, this all starts in practice. Couldn’t ask for a better game and better linemen.”
Pagett capped off the scoring for the Cardinals in the second half with two touchdowns of three yards and 23 yards that helped bolster the Randolph advantage. The senior ended the day with close to 130 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns.
Peters tallied his second rushing score of the day with three minutes to play, but it was too little, too late for the Wildcats. The senior quarterback ended 7-for-18 but put up 183 yards through the air to go along with three total touchdowns.
WNYAthletics was unable to get to Depew coach Mark DiRienzo for comment postgame.
Up next for Randolph is a battle with Class D heavyweight Clymer-Sherman-Panama set for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 25.
Depew visits Alden in a Class C showdown slated for 7 p.m. on Sept. 24.