They won’t back down.
But, they found out with high school football, there ain’t no easy way out.
With rock-n-roll legend Tom Petty passing away this week, we lost yet another great musical artist. With his wiry frame and quirkily-raspy voice resembling a poor man’s Bob Dylan, Petty’s influence captured America’s heart for decades.
Likewise, the London High School football team has been running down a dream throughout the first six weeks of the gridiron season, capturing the admiration of their fans and opponents along the way.
The Red Raiders knew they would face their most difficult challenge to date as Grandview Heights came to town. The Bobcats were hoping to send London free falling for the first time into the loss column.
In the end, it was the Red Raiders who told Grandview not to come around here no more as London handed the visitors a 50-8 loss.
“I think it was a game where all things came together,” said London head coach Kyle Cutler. “When all three phases of the game click, it’s nice to see.”
In true Red Raiders fashion, London worked methodically down the field, utilizing their reliable ground game. On the 12th play of the 65-yard drive, London quarterback Josh Handley took it over from a yard out to give the home squad the early lead.
On Grandview’s ensuing drive, the Bobcats marched much of the way down the field.
Then they ran into London’s Jimmy Dulin.
For the next few minutes, the Red Raider senior almost singlehandedly caused a Bobcat ‘breakdown,’ in a true Petty tribute.
First, Dulin picked off a pass by Grandview quarterback Kyle Casey to thwart their drive.
Although London had to punt, the golden foot of Miller Kronk placed it expertly at the one; downed by Dulin.
Forced to work out of the shadow of their end zone, the Bobcats were on needles and pins as they went against the daunting Red Raider defense. But, Grandview could not make any ground, with running back James Lachey tackled for a safety by …. Dulin (with help from teammate Jacob Jones).
“Jimmy has done everything we have asked,” said Cutler of Dulin. “He deserves all of that success.”
Already leading 9-0 with four minutes gone in the second quarter, the Red Raiders started to put a real shellacking on the visitors from Grandview.
In just eight minutes, London would get into the end zone three times. Red Raider KJ Price would score a pair of rushing touchdowns; the second one from 17 yards out.
In the waning seconds of the first half, tallied his second touchdown of the night, once again running behind his talented offensive line to get across easily from a yard out.
“Our guys up front did a nice job,” Cutler said. “We are always looking to improve to the next level.”
With the 30 minute continuous clock in effect to start the second half, the Red Raiders seemed to have a change of heart and let the Bobcats have their moment in the sun as Grandview took the opening kickoff and eventually got in the end zone with a Casey to Blaine Stanley pass. The receiver caught a swing pass and tightroped the left sideline for a 28 yard score. The Bobcats converted on a two-point pass.
After a few changes of possession, the Red Raiders got the score back as Price was able to show his wheels by outracing the Bobcat defenders for a 48-yard scamper.
That is when London’s defensive unit took control. Led by Jacob Jones, the Red Raiders continued to show they were the big boss men when it came to controlling the lines of scrimmage.
Then back on the offensive side, Red Raider Justin Portman was ready to get into the act as he took a handoff and ran 47 yards for a score.
Running back Dallas Kimbler concluded the scoring as he took it along the left side from six yards out for the final score of the game.
With another win, the Red Raider gridiron squad continues to endear itself to the community as they keep proving there is something in the air about this team of destiny.
“London is a great community,” said Cutler. “We know what this community represents, and we don’t take that lightly.”
Cutler and his squad continue to show each week, they are built to last as they climb to a 7-0 record.
Jeff Gates is a contributor for The Madison Press.