Randolph’s rushing attack has them running to Rochester.
The Cardinals gained 357 yards on the ground, 252 of them from senior Jordan Dowiasz, to lead Randolph past Avon, 34-14, at Robert Rich Sr. All-High Stadium. Randolph now moves on to the New York State Class D semifinals against Section IV’s Tioga Friday at 5 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester.
“Great feeling,” Randolph coach Pat Slater said. “We kind of stumbled a little bit, shot ourselves in the foot there a couple times in the second half, but we made the plays when we needed to make plays. Hey, it’s great to be moving on.”
As efficient as the first half was for Randolph, when it scored on its first four drives to take a 27-0 lead midway through the second quarter, the Section VI champions got a bit of a scare from Avon.
Midway through the third quarter with the score 27-7, the Braves capitalized just 34 seconds after Randolph fumbled on a triple option pitch from quarterback Mitchell Maycock to Dowiasz.
TJ Crye then threw an 11-yard out to John Ambroselli in the right side of the end zone to cut the lead to 27-14 with 3:14 left in the third.
Momentum was starting to turn, especially after Avon forced the Cardinals to punt once again on a fourth-and-4 with under seven minutes left in the game, but a Braves player went offsides before the punt, extending the Cardinals’ drive.
“That was a breaker,” Avon coach Andy Englert said. “Six minutes left in the ball game and that happens. Penalties like that are that going to shoot you especially when you’re battling back into a tough game.”
Four plays later, Dowiasz took an option pitch from Maycock and ran 42 yards down the right sideline for his third and the game’s final touchdown.
“Capping it off felt great,” said Dowiasz, who has now rushed for 466 yards over his last two games. “When Mitchell struck the guy down with a fake all I saw was the end zone. (It) was a sigh of a relief, it felt great.”
Randolph looked like it wouldn’t need any kind of relief.
In the game’s first drive, Cody Oldro sniffed out an Avon screen play for an interception, spearheading a first half scoring surge for the Cardinals that included a 13-yard run by Maycock, short yard plunges by Dowiasz and Alex Miinte before Dowiasz scored on a 73-yard scamper with just 6:52 left in the first half.
“It’s all momentum,” Dowiasz said. “If you have momentum, you’re going to win the game no matter what.”
After starting the year 1-2, Randolph is now 9-0 and has taken down the state’s No. 1 (Maple Grove) and No. 2 (Avon) ranked teams in consecutive weeks.
The last two times the Cardinals have made it this far, in 2005 and 2009, Randolph won the state championship.