The Jonathan Alder High School football team proved to those who might have questioned it, it’s far from a one-man team.
Northwestern University bound-standout Trey Pugh gets a lot attention and rightfully so, but the Pioneers (8-0, 5-0 in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division) proved it has plenty of other weapons on the roster as they slugged their way past visiting North Union 34-14 Friday, Oct. 14.
Pugh left the game on the last play of the first quarter with an apparent upper arm injury with the score tied 0-0, but his teammates never seemed fazed.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can do things,” Alder coach Brett Glass said. “Our offensive line did a fantastic job tonight. We really had a lot of guys do a lot of good things, Austin and Jamie (Dye) had big games but it was the guys up front that made the difference.”
All Alder did from there is turn to another set of playmakers to carry the load. Senior, power back Austin Fooce, provided the muscle, speedy junior Dalton Potts provided the big plays. Fooce routinely lined up in the Wildcat formation and pounded the North Union defense.
The Pioneers struck first when Fooce took a direct snap out of the Wildcat formation and ran right, he stiff armed a North Union tackler and raced into the end zone with 8:05 remaining in the second quarter. The PAT attempt failed when Colton Swick couldn’t corral the snap from center and ended up throwing a pass incomplete in the end zone.
Neither team scored on its next possession, but Alder’s defense delivered the next big play when Casey Fogle recovered a fumble at the Wildcats 41-yard line with 4:51 to go in the half.
“The guys on the sidelines were yelling the Fooce is loose,” Glass said. “He really ran the ball well tonight. It was a good team win tonight.”
Alder continued to use Fooce in the Wildcat formation churning out yards. But on a third and long at the Wildcats 26-yard line Fooce took the direct snap, ran left, flipped it to quarterback Preston Eisnaugle who was line up at wide receiver. Eisnaugle stopped and lofted a pass to a wide-open Dalton Potts, who was all alone around the 5-yard line. Potts secured the pass and waltzed into the end zone with just 1:09 to play on the half. A successful PAT kick by Ethan Gordin increased the halftime lead to 13-0.
Big-play Potts struck again in the third quarter when Eisnaugle hit him on a post route and the junior out-raced a trio of Wildcats to the end zone for a 76-yard scoring strike. The score made it 20-0 Pioneers with the PAT.
Potts also had his hands in on the biggest non-scoring of the game. The Wildcats marched down the field on their first possession of the first quarter and appeared to be going into the end zone, when a ball carrier fumbled into the end zone. Potts was in the right place at the right time and scooped up the ball, preventing North Union from scoring early.
North Union (5-3, 2-3) scored on a 3-yard run with 1:43 to go in the third quarter.
Alder didn’t waste any time answering back, Austin Fooce scored on a 42-yard run with just 37.4 seconds remaining in the third quarter increasing the home team’s advantage back up to 20 points at 27-7.
The Pioneers added another score in the fourth quarter on a 9-yard run by Jamie Dye. His score was set up by a long run by Fooce and a personal foul penalty on the Wildcats.
The Wildcats scored a touchdown with just 1:14 remaining in the contest.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.