SYRACUSE — It was the perfect ending to a perfect season.
However, as Western New York football followers should know by know, when it comes to Randolph playing beautiful football, there really isn’t an end. It seems to just keep on going.
The Cardinals won their second straight state championship – and the program’s fourth in nine years – as they issued the type of performance that has become commonplace throughout its season and postseason.
In its latest trip to the Carrier Dome, Randolph rolled to a 42-13 victory over Chester before an estimated 1,750, completing a 13-0 season and extend the state’s third-longest current win streak to 23. The Cardinals carried on its winning tradition under a first-year head coach, and its standout senior running back did so in record-breaking fashion.
Chris Doubek, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound wrecking ball with moves and vision, ran 26 times for three touchdowns and 273 yards - a yardage total that gave him the Western New York single-season rushing record at 2,536. Doubek, who entered the game needing 185 yards to break the record, surpassed the mark of 2,447 set by Southwestern’s Dustin Bowser in 2003 on a 51-yard run early in the third quarter.
“I think success breeds success. I think that has happened,” said Randolph coach Brent Brown, who was an assistant under Pat Slater for 23 years until taking over following Slater’s retirement. “In 2005, in your wildest dreams you never think you’re going to get here, but then when you do, and you realize it’s possible – our midgets and pee wees, they expect to win. This group, when they were midgets and peewees, they did win, they were our Super Bowl champs down there. They just expect to win. It makes it easy, coaching a group that plays to win.”
Randolph took a 27-7 halftime lead on the Hambletonians, champion of downstate’s Section IX (Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties), before adding two touchdowns in the third quarter.
“We’ve got a great coaching staff, and every year we have players that step up from midgets to JV … it’s just awesome,” said senior quarterback Mitch Maycock, who threw two touchdowns during a 5-for-7 passing afternoon. “We all come up through, and we play with the same guys, and we become brothers, and we win state championships.”
As has been the case most of this season, Randolph had all but decided Friday’s game by halftime, and the Cardinals knew Doubek was just 21 yards away from breaking the Western New York mark.
“I’m so happy for Doubek, because he’s such a good kid and he’s worked so hard,” said Brown. “All the kids, they wanted it. At halftime, he was a few yards short, and they knew and they were going to get him that record. That kid runs like a truck.”
Based on the current record book – which doesn’t account for any other of this season’s best performances – Doubek’s season ranks 20th all-time in state history.
“It’s just amazing – it’s all my teammates,” said Doubek, before lauding the offensive line and senior back Lucas Brown, who is often a lead blocker for him. “The line blows holes open and I just run behind them. Lucas kicks kids out. That’s the only reason I have all those yards, it’s because all my teammates help me work it.”
Chester earned its trip to the Dome behind junior quarterback Vinny Aloi, who tied a state record with seven touchdowns in last week’s state semifinal victory. With senior Cody Oldro (6-3, 250) and junior Michael Bowers (6-3, 275) leading a Cardinals defensive effort that put pressure on Aloi all day, Randolph limited his passing numbers to 5 of 19 for 110 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, both by senior Nick Hettenbaugh.
Chester did come within a touchdown at 14-7 when Aloi connected with junior Angel Suarez on 53-yard score early in the second quarter. However, the Cardinals surged back to end the half with a 27-7 lead thanks to Doubek runs of 2 and 40 yards. He had a 19-yard score in the first quarter.
“It was one blown coverage, and then we fixed it,” said Oldro, one of 10 Randolph seniors. “Then we were all fine once we got that settled down. … We knew coming into the season it was going to be really, really hard work. We wanted to get it, going out as seniors – this just means our kids are willing to work hard.”
Brown had nine tackles and 3.5 sacks for Randolph and also added a 5-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the third quarter. Freshman Sam Jacobi had 4.5 tackles while junior Bryce Morrison and sophomore Devyn Nelson each had touchdown receptions.
“Randolph is a great program,” said Doubek. “We come in, we work hard, we practice hard, and this is the result when Randolph does that.”