The science of winning.
Prior to London High School’s football game clash against Liberty Union, senior Emily Minner was crowned Homecoming Queen. A standout on both the athletic field and in the classroom, the National Merit Scholarship Commended Student has also won the prestigious Jacob Von Kanel Chemistry Award.
During the game, it was Minner’s gridiron schoolmates who were giving the Chemistry lesson as they showed teamwork and dominated in all facets of the game to beat the visiting Lions 28-6. The win continued the Red Raiders current undefeated streak for the season.
“We have a group of guys who are unselfish and who really care about each other,” said London head coach Kyle Cutler. “The reflection of their character is what you see on Fridays.”
The Red Raiders started their scoring montage with a scoop and score touchdown by London’s Justin Portman. The Red Raider senior linebacker picked up a Liberty Union fumble and carried it 25 yards to the end zone.
“That was certainly a big kickstart for us,” Cutler said. “That is a kid who has worked hard for four years and deserved that moment.”
The defense continued to dominate on the next series with tackles for loss by Red Raiders Bricker Thiel, Jacob Jones and Caleb Sollars.
Once London got the ball back on offense they featured their leading ground gainer for the year, KJ Price. During the brief, six play drive, Price showed what has made him so successful. Combining strength with elusiveness, the shift runner bounced it along the right edge for a 12 yard touchdown.
Back on defense, London continued to frustrate their visitors from Liberty Union. This time Red Raiders junior lineman Nate Wells sacked Lions quarterback Caleb Shook on third down to force another punt.
Faced with a fourth down of their own as time ran out in the first quarter, the Red Raiders used the short break to devise a plan to keep the ball. Instead of punting, Cutler entrusted QB Josh Handley with the play. Handley connected with tight end Bricker Thiel on a 39 yard completion. The gain was instrumental in the scoring drive that culminated two plays later with a Handley run.
“We trust Josh Handley in all that we do,” Cutler said. “He has mastered his skill set.”
Despite earning a couple of first downs the next time they had the ball, the Lions were again forced to punt. From there, London embarked on its most impressive drive of the first half, putting together a 12-play, 71 yard series, culminating in Handley’s second score of the night — this one from a half a yard out.
Just when London thought they would enter the half with a shutout, Liberty Union came up with its lone offensive highlight on the night. It took Lion running back Cole Peardon just 14 seconds to go 80 yards along the left sideline for a touchdown.
While the London offense cooled to start the second half, the defense heated up. With interceptions by Juane Gardner and Trent Hart, as well as defensive line play led by Jacob Jones and Haden Huff, the Red Raiders continued to excel on that side of the ball.
“We took some definite steps defensively tonight,” Cutler said. “We are ready to get back to work.”
The 6-0 Red Raiders host league rival Grandview next Friday.
Jeff Gates is a contributor for The Madison Press.