Nov 1, 2021
Photo by Mike Morrison Frontier quarterback J.D. Schmidt fires a pass while under pressure by Caldwell’s Marshal Sayre in Saturday’s Division VII playoff game at the Noble County Fairgrounds. Caldwell rolled to a 48-7 victory.
CALDWELL — The Caldwell Redskins erupted for 21 second quarter points and never looked back as they advanced to the second round of the Division VII, Region 27 playoffs with a convincing 48-7 win over the Frontier Cougars Saturday evening at the Noble County Fairgrounds.
Sophomore quarterback Cale Bender fired three touchdowns while junior tailback Marshal Sayre caught one touchdown pass and ran for two more as the Redskins improved to 6-4 overall and advance to take on top-seeded Newark Catholic next Saturday night in Newark.
“We emphasized all week that we had to execute on the offensive line and get the job done because that is one thing that we have been lacking in the second half,” said first-year Caldwell head coach Chance Rucker. “Tonight we executed and rushed for nearly 400 yards, and you can’t ask for anything more than that from your offensive line.”
The Redskins defense set the tone early on when they limited the Cougars to a three-and-out on their opening possession.
Caldwell began their first drive of the game at their own 21-yard line and methodically marched down the field in just seven plays with Bender getting them on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Frontier answered and answered quickly as senior quarterback J.D. Schmidt connected with his favorite target Tanner Bills on a 51-yard touchdown pass to knot the score at 7-7 with 4:36 to play in the opening quarter.
Both teams came up empty on their next possession before Caldwell pulled back in front early in the second quarter.
The Redskins’ drive started at the Caldwell 31-yard line and featured all running plays before Bender connected on a beautiful 31-yard scoring toss to freshman Alex Herlan, who got behind the Cougar defense to give the ‘Skins a 14-7 lead.
Frontier moved the ball into Caldwell territory on their next possession but came up empty when they went for it on fourth down and failed, turning the ball over to the Redskins near midfield.
It would take the warming Caldwell offense just five plays to reach the end zone once again when Sayre scored on a four-yard run to increase the lead to 21-7.
Frontier moved the ball even farther into Caldwell territory on their next possession with the big play coming on a 39-pass completion from Schmidt to junior Lucas Cox.
The Cougars had a first-and-goal inside the ten-yard line but once again could not cash in before turning the ball over on downs to the ‘Skins for the second consecutive time.
“We had some opportunities early and things didn’t go our way,” said Frontier head coach Russ Morris. “Caldwell has got a very good football team and they took advantage.”
Just as they did the previous time, Caldwell made the Cougars pay for their lack of execution as they drove 90-yards in less than two minutes with Bender connecting with sophomore Dylan Wheeler on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 40 ticks left on the clock to send Caldwell to halftime with a 28-7 lead.
Sayre carried the ball twice for 48 yards and Bender twice for 29 on what well could have been the biggest drive of the game.
While the Redskins were scoring quickly in the opening half they put together a grinding 12-play, 65-yard drive together to start the second half that not only resulted in seven more points on the board but took six crucial minutes of game time off of the clock.
The drive finished with Bender’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Sayre pushing the Caldwell lead to 35-7.
Frontier suffered a tough blow in the third quarter when Bills left the game with an injury and Caldwell continued to add on when Sayre scored on a six-yard run with lass then 30 seconds to play in the third.
Sophomore kicker Paisley Sidwell connected on her sixth consecutive point-after kick as the Caldwell lead swelled to 42-7.
Caldwell added one more score in the closing minutes on an 85-yard touchdown run by freshman Ethan Crock.
Sayre carried the ball 19 times for 169 yards while catching a pair of passes for 55 more to lead the way for the Redskins.
“Marshal is one hell of an athlete and he runs the rock hard,” said Rucker of Sayre. “He’s a running back that we can lean on and we’ve got big expectations for and he’s only going to grow and get even better as a senior next year.”
Bender also eclipsed the 100-yard mark by carrying the ball 14 times for 104 yards while also completing 7-of-10 pass attempts for 140 yards and the three touchdowns.
Schmidt, one of seven Cougar seniors playing in their final game, completed 14-of-25 passes for 152 yards while leading Frontier in rushing with 31 yards on nine carries.
Morris had high praise to offer his seven seniors.
“The saddest thing is saying goodbye to these seven seniors who are good kids and did a great job of leading us back into the playoffs again this year,” said Morris, whose team scored their first playoff victory last season. “I’ve been very blessed to be able to coach these kids and their parents ought to be proud of them, their community ought to be proud of them because they did things the right way and to me that means everything.”
While the Cougars season comes to a close, the Redskins will have to come up with a huge effort to upset the 10-1 Green Wave.
“We haven’t exchanged any film with them yet but have seen some clips and they are pretty much all spread offense with a really good quarterback and really good receivers,” said Rucker. “We’ve got step it up in the secondary and rock and roll if we want to keep going.”
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Nov 1, 2021