Last season the London Red Raiders football team returned to the playoffs after a long hiatus.
This year, head coach Kyle Cutler and his team set out to show that the previous campaign was not a fluke.
London High School put on a tremendous second quarter ground show that continued into the second half as the Red Raiders handed Urbana a 41-7 defeat Friday at Bowlus Field.
“For us we just worry about one day at a time,” Cutler said. “If you look too far ahead or too much in the past you lose your focus.”
Red Raiders running back KJ Price continued his dominance from a year ago tallying four touchdowns on the ground. He scored from 15 and 35 yards out in the second quarter, and added a 22-yard scamper of the opening drive of the third stanza to demonstrate that he has not lost a step. He added a 26-yard, high-stepping score in the final quarter for good measure.
“We arguably have the best back in the state of Ohio, and a fine young man,” Cutler said of Price and the running game. “The good news for us is that we don’t have to rely on one guy.”
Urbana started the game with a 16-play drive, but they were ultimately halted on a fourth down run by Red Raiders’ Nate Wells.
London scored their first touchdown less than two minutes into the second quarter as running back Brennan Spiess took a hand-off and outran the Hillclimbers down the right sideline for an impressive 54-yard jaunt.
The second quarter also saw the strong Red Raiders’ defense show its grit by clogging up the middle of the field against an aggressive run-oriented Urbana offense. Leading the way for London in stopping the Hillclimbers were Bricker Theil, Jayvion Stevens, Tyler Tobin, Jackson Jones, Jack Gould, Wells, and others.
Then it was Price’s time as he scored his first touchdown on a fourth and two play.
The Red Raiders’ swarming defense got the ball right back as Theil recovered a fumble by Urbana quarterback Preston Shields.
It didn’t take Price long to vault the home team to a commanding 21-0 lead going into half-time.
It was more of the same as the second half began with the running combination of Spiess, Theil and Price, as the latter shredded the Urbana defense for his third TD of the evening.
The season opener was also a chance for London to unveil their new kicker, Eric Nobel. Miller Kronk left big cleats to fill, but Noble started off on a great note with five extra points.
The second half moved forward at a rapid pace.
Working hard on defense, London’s Theil got his reward on offense as he broke through the middle for a powerful three yard score.
Special teams got into the act as well as Red Raiders freshman Dylan Combs recovered a muffed kick return by Urbana. That set up Price’s fourth and final tally of the night.
Urbana added a touchdown pass during garbage time for their only score.
“They have some athletes for sure,” Cutler said. “But they are building a program so I can identify with them.”
London travels to Madison-Plains next Friday.