Jonathan Alder turned in its second dominating performance in as many weeks on Friday, Sept. 25 handing Galion a 35-13 defeat in Mid-Ohio Conference Red Division play. That victory followed up a 48-14 win over Pleasant in Week 4.
“We knew (Galion) had some big guys up front, but we wanted to be balanced and run the ball, and I think we did that both in the first half and the second half,” said Alder head coach Brett Glass. “I told the guys we’ve got another huge one next week. Buckeye Valley is a much improved team, obviously. Every game in our conference is a battle, it doesn’t matter who it is. You gotta be ready to go, so we’ll be ready to go next week.”
Alder (4-1, 2-0 MOAC) established its dominance on the ground early. The Pioneers scored on their first two possessions of the game with fullback Austin Fooce capping off both drives with touchdown runs. The Pioneers took the opening kickoff and moved the ball 65 yards in 12 plays, eating up 5:14 of the first period. Fooce ran in basically untouched from seven yards out to give the Pioneers a 7-0 lead at the 6:46 mark.
After Galion went three and out on its first drive, Alder put together another long march to extend its lead to 14-0 with 2:53 to play in the opening quarter. Fooce once again delivered the final blow, this time from three yards out. Pioneers tailback Sean Sullivan provided the big play on the drive with a 31-yard run around the left end to move the ball to the Galion 37. A penalty on the Tigers pushed the ball to the 27.
Alder’s third score of the first half came on the heels of a turnover by the Tigers at the Pioneers 49. What appeared to be a fake punt went awry and the ball went over to Alder. Preston Eisnaugle connected with Trey Pugh for an 11-yard completion to the Galion 39. Two plays later, Eisnaugle hit Dean Karkut in stride down the middle for a 39-yard touchdown that gave the Pioneers a 21-0 cushion with 64 seconds to play.
Galion was forced to punt on its final possession with 29.4 seconds left in the half. Andrew Koenig returned the kick 25 yards to the Galion 45. The half ended when Eisnaugle was brought down at the Tigers 14 after a 33-yard run.
Galion (3-2, 0-2 MOAC) opened the second half with a 22-yard kickoff return by Harrison Ivy and started at their own 47. Drake Barnett kick-started the scoring march with a 14-yard run and ended it with a 5-yard run over the right side that cut the deficit to 21-6 with 7:38 left in the third.
Alder struck back on its first possession of the half, marching 65 yards for a score to run the lead to 28-6 with 2:37 remaining in the period. Eisnaugle found Koenig open for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
The Tigers rallied for their second and final score of the game just as the third quarter ended. Quarterback Chase Cooke found Barnett on the left side and the senior running back bolted 32 yards for a touchdown with zeroes showing on the clock that trimmed the gap to 28-13.
Fooce rounded out the scoring with his third touchdown of the night early in the fourth period. The Pioneers once again put together a long drive that covered 69 yards. Fooce punched the ball into the end zone from five yards out at the 9:26 mark to run the Alder lead to 35-13.
“I’m disappointed with the outcome, and some performances, and the execution,” said Galion head coach Chris Hawkins. “I know we got beat, but I saw a lot of our kids out there playing with more heart and with a better motor than we did last week. It didn’t get us a victory, but it’s a positive.”
Alder piled up 484 total yards — 377 rushing and 107 passing. Sullivan led the Pioneers with 120 rushing yards. Fooce had 75 yards. Jamie Dye came off the bench late at rushed for 77 yards on three carries. Koenig added 71 yards and Eisnaugle rushed for 34 yards.
Eisnaugle completed 6-of-13 passes for 107 yards and was picked off once.
Zeke Thorpe, Hunter Maynard and Colton Swick each recorded a sack for Alder.
Barnett led the Tigers with 81 yards rushing and 38 yards receiving. He also recorded a sack on defense.
Cooke finished 9-of-18 for 179 yards. Fryer caught four balls for 27 yards and also rushed for 29 yards. The Tigers finished with 266 total yards.
Colton Moore had an interception.
The Pioneers and Tigers will both be on the road in Week 6. Jonathan Alder travels to Buckeye Valley, while Galion plays at Marion Harding.
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048, or on Twitter @ACGalionSports.