Randolph rolled through The Ralph again on its return to the state playoffs.
The defending state champion and No. 1 ranked team in Class D repeated as Section VI champion Friday with a 35-12 defeat of rival Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake in front of an estimated crowd of 500 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Mitchell Maycock threw three touchdown passes on just four attempts and Chris Doubek rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown as the Cardinals scored the game’s final 28 points and outgained the Thunder Dragons, 302 yards to 71.
Randolph (10-0) has now won 20 straight games and will face Section V champion Red Jacket (9-1) at 5 p.m. Friday at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester in Far West Regionals.
“It feels amazing,” Maycock said. “Getting this win at The Ralph, in front of this crowd, and getting to move on in my senior year is awesome.”
For the second time this season, MG/CL took an early lead over Randolph, and the Thunder Dragons went ahead, 12-7, before quarterback Kyle Mayer got knocked out of the game with a rib injury.
While Mayer was at the hospital getting X-rayed, backup quarterback AJ Hulton pulled his hamstring and MG/CL’s early momentum came to a halt.
“Once we lost our quarterback, the wheels fell off a little bit,” MG/CL coach Curt Fischer said.
Randolph botched a punt snap and muffed a punt return in the first quarter, giving MG/CL drive starts at the Cardinals’ 39 and its own 47 on its two touchdown drives.
Mayer got hurt on the Thunder Dragons’ go-ahead touchdown early in the second quarter. After completing a 30-yard bomb to Jonah Tanner, Mayer scrambled to his right and threw a 10-yard pass that slipped through the hands of Ryan Miller and went right into Tanner’s for a touchdown that gave MG/CL a 12-7 lead.
Gram Nelson’s 7-yard touchdown run put MG/CL in front midway through the first quarter, but Randolph responded to both of the Thunder Dragons’ early threats.
“We settled down and played our game,” Randolph coach Brett Brown said. “We have a big offensive line. We try to run them over and throw the ball if we have to. We did the same stuff we’ve been doing all year. When you’re that much bigger, you can do that.”
Maycock scrambled 20 yards down to the 1 and then hit Devyn Nelson on a play-action pass to make it 7-6 with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.
Doubek ran 23 yards on an option toss from Maycock for a touchdown that gave Randolph its first lead, 14-12, with 2:38 left in the second quarter.
Less than a minute later, Mason Bosley recovered a fumbled snap at the 15 and Maycock rolled out and hit Lucas Brown for a 5-yard touchdown pass three plays later to give Randolph a 21-12 lead heading into halftime.
Nelson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run that was set up by Nick Hettenbaugh’s fumble recovery on the previous play, putting Randolph ahead 28-12 with 1:37 remaining in the third quarter.
Hettenbaugh had an interception that set up Randolph’s go-ahead touchdown drive, and he closed the scoring with a 55-yard touchdown reception from Maycock early in the fourth quarter.
“Hett plays his best games here,” Brown said. “He did the same thing last year.”
In its first season as a combined program, Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (7-2) lost only to Randolph, and gave the Cardinals a tougher challenge then a year ago when it lost, 21-0, at The Ralph.
“I can’t say enough great things about these young guys,” Fischer said. “They overcame some serious pounding of negativity and they didn’t let it inside. We stuck together and we got here. We did what we had to do to get here, and I think we played a great game.”
Fischer also believes his team lost to the eventual state champions.
“I believe Randolph will repeat,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind.”