Medomak Valley football (1-0) controlled the clock and the line of scrimmage on the way to a comfortable 36-22 win at home over the Hampden Academy Broncos (0-1) in the Panthers’ opening game on Saturday, Sept. 2.
Senior running back Aaron Reed rushed for 255 yards and had four touchdown runs to lead a physical Panther offense. Medomak ran the ball on every play from scrimmage except one.
“We wanted to own the line of scrimmage,” said Medomak Valley head coach Ryan Snell. “Our team played physical and did a great job executing plays. Aaron Reed had an amazing game and stepped up big to replace the offensive production we lost after 1,400-yard-rusher Hayden Staples graduated.”
The Medomak Valley offense scored on its first three possessions and chewed up a lot of the clock, thereby limiting the time that the Broncos were on offense.
The Panthers dominated the first quarter. Touchdown runs by Reed of 14 and three yards, and a quarterback keeper by Chase Peaslee built a commanding 22-0 lead. Defensive lineman Bryent Harvey knocked loose a fumble, which was recovered by Nathan Gess and led to one of Reed’s early touchdown runs.
Hampden Academy’s Kayson Wildman scored on a three-yard run off tackle to make it 20-8. The Broncos got the ball back and were driving again late in the second quarter before the Panthers’ Marshall Addy came up with a big sack to extinguish a Hampden scoring chance as the first half expired.
“The guys really stepped up with Liam out,” said Snell in reference to senior captain Liam Wilson, who is out with a leg injury. “He’s a two-way starter for us and that’s hard to replace, but they all put in a solid group effort.”
Reed also caught a pass from Peaslee for a two-point conversion, and he ran the ball in for another. In addition to leading the Panther defense with five tackles, Porter Gahagan chipped in on offense with a two-point conversion run.
The Medomak Valley running game amassed 315 rushing yards by Reed (255 yards on 32 carries), fullback Gahagan (38 yards on eight carries) and quarterback Peaslee (22 yards on nine carries) as they wore down the smaller Broncos defense.
Midway through the third quarter, Reed broke tackles and sprinted to a long 52-yard touchdown run that built the Panthers’ lead to 28-8. Hampden Academy’s offense finally came to life and responded with a touchdown run to bounce back to 28-14.
The Broncos had a chance to make the game interesting early in the fourth quarter when they drove toward the end zone again, but Medomak’s Peaslee intercepted a pass and ran it back all the way to the Hampden 38-yard line.
On the ensuing Medomak drive, Reed scampered around the right end and into the end zone again to establish a commanding 22-point Panther lead.
The Broncos, who had gained momentum with their passing game in the second half, would add a late touchdown to make the final score 36-22.
Gabe Lash, who had the second most tackles for the Panthers defense with four, booted a long punt in the fourth quarter that pinned the Broncos deep in their territory to help thwart any comeback.
“We graduated a big senior class (16) and only have five returning starters on each side of the ball,” said Snell. “So, there were a lot of new faces out there in a varsity game for the first time.”
One thing the Panthers will be working on is better communication on defensive assignments, Snell said.
“It was a solid start to the season, but we’ll continue to work to get better,” he said.