GALION — Galion’s offense, defense, and special teams each contributed points to the Tigers 31-0 victory against Upper Sandusky on Friday night. Galion scored on a punt return and an interception return and got a field goal in the win.
“We really have played great defense for a long time here. I love what we do defensively. We have some really tough kids,” said Galion head coach Matt Dick, whose team bounced back from a tough loss last week to improve to 2-1 on the young season.
Cooper Kent got the start behind center for the Tigers on Friday night. On their first offensive drive Kent hit Landon Campbell for a five-yard touchdown pass with 3:01 left in the opening quarter.
“He is a sophomore quarterback and he makes sophomore quarterback mistakes. We’re gonna have to live with some of them. I just told him to stay in the system,” Dick said.
Kent was 8-for-13 passing for 68 yards and a touchdown. The sophomore added 41 yards on the ground on seven attempts.
Campbell is just as good on defense as he had a sack the following Rams drive to force a punt. Jackson Hart was the man on the following drive as the kicker nailed a 30-yard field goal at the 10:39 mark of the second quarter to push the Galion lead to 10-0.
The Rams recovered a fumble late in the second quarter deep in their own territory. Upper Sandusky was able to punch the ball loose from a running Kent. The Tigers stood tough on defense and forced Upper Sandusky to punt. Hanif Donaldson muffed the punt and the Rams were able to recover and gain another possession.
Campbell once again came up huge with a third-down sack to force a Rams punt. The Tigers were content with the 10-0 lead heading into the half.
Donaldson started the second half at quarterback for the Tigers. The senior saw a lesser passing role, attempting just three passes. Instead, Donaldson was a lord on the ground where he had 125 rushing yards. He added 42 receiving yards on five catches.
Neither team was able to do much in the third quarter as they just traded possessions . The Tigers were driving deep in the Upper Sandusky end zone when Donaldson lost the ball and the Rams recovered.
“We have to get the offense to click the right way, I thought there were bright spots. But, still we have to clean some stuff up,” Dick said.
The senior made up for it in a big way. With 7:04 left in the game, Donaldson took a punt return 71 yards for another Tigers touchdown. Galion led 17-0 with 7:04 to remain in the game.
“You have a guy like Hanif Donaldson and the special teams plays, with our good defense it just clicked,” Dick said.
The Tigers got into the end zone again when Sam Wegesin took it in for a 13-yard touchdown at the 4:25 mark of the fourth quarter.
Galion’s defense then got in on the action when Carson Frankhouse picked off a pass from Upper Sandusky’s Kaden Holman and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown with 4:13 left in the game.
Upper Sandusky’s Holman was 11-for-28 for 84 yards. Any Rams’ offense came from Aiden Gallant. Gallant had 79 yards on 17 attempts.
Galion out-rushed Upper Sandusky 200 yards to just 71 yards, which was a major difference in this one. The Tigers turned over the ball three times, two more than the Rams (1-2).
Coach Dick knows his team took a step this week, but the season is about to get turned up a notch.
“Anytime a young team can win, watch film, and take coaching. We’re gonna run them hard and coach them hard,” he said. “We are going to take another step next week with River Valley. In the MOAC, there is no bye week. We’re going to have to keep growing offensively.”
River Valley (3-0) defeated Highland 35-21 on Friday night to remain undefeated.
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