RANDOLPH — For two quarters, the Randolph football team had relative control.
And then by halftime … it didn’t.
Much as it did after the opening whistle, however, the Cardinals came out of the halftime gates strong. And behind the superb running of Xander Hind — and an equally stout run defense — they pulled out a roller-coaster ride of a win in a potentially pivotal Section 6 Class D matchup.
Hind had what might go down as one of the top individual efforts of the year, running an incredible 44 times for 330 yards and four touchdowns, and added three two-point conversion runs, to lead Randolph to a 36-26 victory over defending Class D champion Franklinville/Ellicottville in both teams’ league-opener Friday night.
Hind had TD scampers of 44, 25, 4 and 2 yards. Randolph held a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, but found itself trailing at the break (20-14) thanks to a trio of touchdown passes from Lucas Marsh — to Logan Grinols (60 yards), Blake Frank (29 yards) and Gian Nuzzo (10 yards). Hind added two more scores in the third quarter, however, as Randolph reclaimed the lead 30-20.
But just after it had again fallen behind by two scores, Beau Bielecki returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to the house to bring the Titans back to within 30-26 late in the third quarter. The Cardinals, though, clamped down in the final frame and Hind notched his final score with 5:11 remaining to put the game away.
The Cardinals (2-0) finished with 60 rushes for 390 rushing yards while limiting F/E (1-1) to just a single rushing yard on 12 carries. As a result, for the game, they outgained coach Jason Marsh’s team, 418-180.
Luke Pagett added 49 yards on nine carries while Carson Conley tallied the first TD of the game for the Cardinals, who avenged a pair of losses to F/E from last season. Marsh finished 11-of-21 for 179 yards and the three scores while Grinols caught three passes for 89 yards and Frank had four receptions for 43 yards.
SECTION 6 CLASS D
Clymer/Sherman/Panama 59, Cattaraugus-Little Valley 12
CATTARAUGUS — Trent Burchanowski ran seven times for 112 yards and four touchdowns and Clymer/Sherman/Panama built up a 32-6 halftime lead before cruising in its league opener.
Kurtis Olson completed 10-of-13 passes for 190 yards and three scores while Bryce Hinsdale caught four passes for 82 yards and a touchdown and Micah Willink hauled in three passes for 77 yards and a TD. TreyVon Kopta led C/S/P with seven tackles.
Christian Hines ran six times for 59 yards and TD jaunts of 10 and 60 yards for the Timberwolves (0-2). Hines scored midway through the second quarter to make it 19-6, but C/S/P tallied the next five touchdowns on either side of halftime to pull away. Josh Halterman completed 8-of-14 passes for 85 yards and Paul Tackentien led the defense with seven stops and Hines had four tackles.
SECTION 5 CLASS B SOUTH
Pioneer 21, East Aurora/Holland 14
EAST AURORA — Jack Buncy logged 28 carries for 206 yards and Brody Hopkins threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another to spark Pioneer to another workman-like victory.
Tied at 7 after three quarters, Pioneer took control on a 1-yard TD plunge from Hopkins and a 16-yard touchdown pass from Hopkins to Xavier McClure. The Panthers had tied it at 7 on an 18-yard TD pass from Hopkins to Kyle Stover in the second quarter. Logan Ellis recorded eight tackles, including two for loss, Scott Davis had seven stops and Walker Bekiel had a big interception for the Pioneer defense.
The Panthers surrendered a touchdown to East Aurora/Holland on the opening drive of the game. After driving deep into EA territory late in the contest, they coughed up a fumble, which the Blue Devils returned 90 yards to pull to within one possession. In between, however, they dictated much of the action, holding a 331-144 advantage in total yards, including a 282-129 edge on the ground, totaling 13 first downs to EA’s seven and running 55 plays to 34.
Pioneer has won eight straight regular season games since 2019 and an impressive 22 of the last 23 since 2017.
“We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” Pioneer coach Jim Duprey said of the opening and closing minutes. “We made entirely too many mental mistakes that kind of cost us. But we showed some resiliency; we definitely started to wear them down (as the game went on).”
Of Buncy’s effort, he added, “It was a real workhorse effort. He got a lot of tough yards on the ground.”
SECTION 5 CLASS D
Bolivar-Richburg 49, Cuba-Rushford 8
CUBA — Bolivar-Richburg scored early and often while winning its fourth-straight Hyphen Bowl.
The Wolverines rushed 43 times for 325 yards and limited the Rebels to 112 total yards, all on the ground, while picking up their first win of the 2021 fall season. B-R jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and added three more second-quarter scores to bring a commanding 35-0 lead into halftime.
The Wolverines have taken the last four rivalry matchups against C-R by an average margin of 34-7, The Rebels’ last win came in the 2017 season.