By Rob Tucker
BEMUS POINT- Most football players are content to spend an entire season crafting their end-of-the-year highlight reels. They'll rip off a big run here, a big run there, and, by the time Week Seven rolls around, they'll be feeling pretty proud of what they've put together.
Photo by Rob Tucker
Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake’s Ryan Miller stiff arms a Randolph defender during Friday’s Class D high school football game.
That is not, however, how Chris Doubek operates; no, he prefers to cram a season's worth of highlights into a single contest.
And Friday was no different.
Squaring off against rival Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake in what was essentially a battle to decide this year's league champion, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound senior bullied his way through the Thunder Dragons to the tune of 337 yards - a career-high total - and three touchdowns, leading Randolph to the decisive 35-7 Class D victory.
"It really means a lot for us to win this game," Randolph lineman Cody Oldro said of his squad, which won its 15th straight game and improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in league. "We wanted to come in here and prove a point, because we know (Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake) is a potential threat later on down the road in the playoffs."
Doubek, who was handed the ball 24 times, made the most of just about every one of his opportunities, ripping touchdown runs of 38 and 58 yards in the second half to go along with 72-yard, 58-yard and 51-yard big gainers in the first.
And while he did benefit greatly from running behind the Cardinals' formidable (and sizable) offensive line, he showed he was more than capable of inflicting a little punishment of his own on any would-be tacklers.
After receiving a pitch from quarterback Mitch Maycock early in the fourth quarter, Doubek was hit almost immediately with a textbook tackle, but instead of going down, he absorbed the blow, kept his legs churning and rumbled another 58 yards to paydirt.
The score put his Cardinals, the top-ranked Class D team in the state, comfortably ahead, 35-7 with eight minutes to go in the game.
While Doubek and the Cardinals were nearly unstoppable in the second half - the squad scored on three-of-five possessions - it took a bit of time for them to get rolling in the first; time third-ranked Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake would take advantage of.
After the Cardinals had their opening drive stalled after eight plays - Doubek was held to runs of 1, 0 and 1 yards - the Thunder Dragons promptly put the first points on the board when quarterback Kyle Mayer found Gram Nelson in the front corner of the end zone from 20 yards out.
The 7-0 lead would stand for the rest of the period, and it was the first time Randolph had trailed in a game all season.
"We talked about (facing adversity) before the game," Brown said, "because we hadn't been behind and you wonder. Now, a lot of these kids had gone through all this last year, so it wasn't new to them, but you still wonder how they would respond."
Brown quickly got his answer.
The offensive line - made up of Oldro, Michael Bowers, Wesley Senn, Jeff Andrews and Patrick Kibbe -responded by picking up its play in the second frame, opening up a massive hole for Doubek on third-and-7 that resulted in a 51-yard gain. Four plays later, Maycock tallied on a keeper from the 6, making the score (after the Randolph kicker missed the extra point), 7-6 with a little more than 10 minutes to go in the second quarter.
After another three-and-out by MG/CL, the Randolph line again parted the defense, allowing Doubek to race 72 yards down to the 12 on the drive's first play. Two plays later, he was in the end zone with his first score, and with his conversion run, the Cardinals now led, 14-7.
Randolph scored the game's final 21 points.
Devin Nelson opened the third-quarter scoring at the nine-minute mark from the 3, capping a short, four-play, 64-yard drive, and then Doubek finished off a long, six-minute drive with a 38-yard score at the two-minute mark to put the Cardinals ahead, 28-7.
Maple Grove's offense, meanwhile, came to a grinding halt, and would reach Randolph territory only once in the second half.
"In a game like this, against such a great football team, you can't make any mistakes - and we made several mistakes," Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake coach Curt Fischer said. "But we're just going to keep growing from this. We're going to watch the film, we're going to get better and we're not going to throw in the towel.
"Not a lot of people probably want to play them again, but we do, and we're going to give it our best effort."
NOTES: Oldro led the Randolph defense with 14 tackles while Doubek had 13, Lucas Brown 11 and Devin Nelson six. ... For MG/CL, Jonah Tanner and Chandler Baker had 11 tackles apiece. ... MG/CL was held to 116 yards rushing on 31 attempts, with Gram Nelson gaining 64 yards on eight attempts.