Randolph tailback Jordan Dowiasz rushed for 214 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 21-0 upset win over Maple Grove in the Section VI Class D championship game Friday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Cardinals shocked the No. 1 Class D team in the state thanks to a strong game from Dowiasz and a big performance by their defense, which shut out a Red Dragons team that averaged 30.6 points through their first nine games. Randolph (8-2) avenged a 27-14 road loss to Maple Grove (9-1) on Sept. 14 in capturing its first Class D title since 2009.
“Words can’t even express how I feel right now,” said Dowiasz, a senior. “It felt like it was our day to come out here and win.”
Dowiasz played a big role in making that happen before an estimated crowd of 1,000. Dowiasz rushed 22 times and had touchdowns of 37 and 55 yards, his first making the score 14-0 midway through the second quarter when he found the right sideline on a fourth-and-3 play.
“I was thinking get the first down and keep the drive going,” Dowiasz said. “Once I saw the end zone I said ‘I’m going. There’s no stopping me right now.’ ”
The senior’s longer score came with 7:49 left in the fourth quarter after Lucas Brown intercepted Maple Grove’s Aaron Germain.
“That was the final nail in the coffin,” Dowiasz said.
Randolph opened the scoring with 39 seconds left in the first quarter on a spectacular touchdown catch that capped a nine-play, 58-yard drive, set up by junior linebacker Cody Oldro’s fumble recovery.
Cardinals quarterback Mitchell Maycock threw to the end zone on second and goal from the 6. The ball was initially intercepted by Germain, but a big hit from Nick Hettenbaugh knocked the ball away and into the waiting arms of his cousin, Randolph’s Nathan Beaver.
“I thought it was a for sure interception,” Beaver said, “But [Hettenbaugh] came out of nowhere and made a great play and the ball bounced right in my hands.”
Beaver, on his back in the end zone, lifted his hands in the air as the Cardinals’ faithful howled their approval of the circus score.
“It’s about time we got a break,” Randolph coach Pat Slater said. “That was great to get some confidence and say ‘You know what, we can win this game.’ ”
The Cardinals did that by rushing for 294 of their 321 yards. Chris Doubek rushed 13 times for 44 yards.
Randolph held the Red Dragons to 202 yards. Hettenbaugh finished with six tackles to lead the all-around team effort on the defensive side of the ball. Bryce Morrison added five tackles, while Beaver had a sack.
Maple Grove coach Curt Fischer said the Cardinals didn’t change much from their first meeting. They just got the bounces on Friday.
“It’s like the first team that makes a big play ends up winning the game,” said Fischer, who also coaches basketball at Maple Grove. “But what are you going to do? The sun’s going to come up tomorrow and we’ll play basketball now.”
Randolph moves on to play the Section V champion in the Far West Regionals at 5 p.m. Friday at All High Stadium. The Cardinals have won two state titles, the last one coming during the 2009 season.