By ROB HAMILTON
Highland rode a powerful ground game to a blowout over Fredericktown, 49-14, to take sole possession of first place in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference’s Blue Division.
The win moves the Scots to 5-3, 5-0 in conference play, one game in front of Fredericktown and Cardington. They will play at Cardington this Friday in a contest with title implications for both teams.
Highland scored first on a one-yard run by Jared Limings, but the Freddies quickly responded to tie the score at 7-7. However, the Scots would dominate the rest of the opening quarter, getting seven-yard touchdowns by Andrew Stillwell and a 23-yard scoring run by Dakota Bunting. The Bunting run was followed by a Limings two-point conversion, making the score 28-7 after the opening period (Satchel Denton added a pair of extra-point kicks in that span).
The second quarter opened with a 33-yard scoring run by Limings, with Bunting adding a two-point run. Alex Wright then scored on an 82-yard run, with Denton adding the PAT. Fredericktown scored before the half to make the score 43-14, but they would be unable to cut into the gap over the final 24 minutes.
The only scoring in the second half was on a third-quarter run of one yard by Andrew Davis.
Highland finished with 585 yards in the game, with 472 coming on the ground. Bunting tallied 167, while Limings finished with 148 of that total.
Cardington kept themselves in position to claim at least a share of the league title on Friday by dismantling East Knox by a 54-8 margin. The Pirates (6-2, 4-1 in the MOAC), rolled to the win by scoring the first 54 points of the contest.
In the first quarter, two Daniel Kill rushing scores (of four and three yards) and two PATs by Brandon Steckel staked the Pirates to a 14-0 lead.
They would add 20 more in the second quarter. Trey Williams scored on a blocked punt and then quarterback Luke McCarrell hit Williams for a 26-yard scoring pass. McCarrell also connected with Skyler Bowling for a 10-yard touchdown.
Cardington then got scoring runs of 18 from Kill and nine from Williams in the third quarter and McCarrell got his third throw for points early in the fourth on an eight-yard pass to David Cain. East Knox would score late in the game to provide their only points of the contest.
The Pirates had a 367-82 advantage in yards over their hosts. McCarrell completed 12-of-15 passes for 159 yards, with Williams, Bowling and Nate Craig all with three receptions. Scott Osborne rushed for 73 yards, while Kill added 60.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS