By Matthew Wakefield
RANDOLPH - The Brent Brown era got under way Friday night at Randolph Central School and, not surprisingly, it looked remarkably similar to the Pat Slater era.
Photo by Scott Reagle
Westfield-Brocton’s Damon James (25) catches the ball for a kickoff return in Friday’s game at Randolph.
The Cardinals controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, gobbled up yardage on the ground and even mixed in a defensive touchdown for good measure. Scores on each of their first-half possessions gave the Cardinals a 42-0 halftime lead and it cruised to a 44-7 Class D victory over Westfield-Brocton.
Slater retired after winning the third Class D state title of his 34-year career last season. Brown, a longtime assistant under Slater, took over head coaching responsibilities and vowed not to make too many changes to one of the area's - and one of the state's - most successful programs.
The Cardinals certainly looked every bit as dominant as they did under Slater.
The Cardinals rolled up 304 rushing yards on 43 carries (7.1 yards per carry) while limiting the Wolverines to 25 yards on 18 attempts (1.4 yards per carry). On their first possession they drove the ball 74 yards on six plays for their first touchdown 2:33 into the game, and they kept rolling throughout the first half. The only thing that finally slowed them down was the use of their backups throughout the second half.
"We knew they were going to be good but I didn't think they were going to be quite as good as they were on the line of scrimmage," Westfield coach Bob North said. "I mean, they manhandled us on both sides of the line of scrimmage and when that happens you're going to be in for a long night. Defensively we couldn't stop the run early and offensively it was almost a jailbreak most of the time."
Chris Doubek led Randolph with 13 carries for 119 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the first half.
Westfield finally got on the scoreboard when Hunt hit Damon James on a reverse screen and the tailback took the ball 45 yards for a touchdown with 7:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The score didn't matter in the game's outcome, but North was happy to see it.
"I told the kids at halftime, 'Let's try to win the second half,"' North said. "Randolph was nice enough to take their starters out, so our kids should have won the second half, and they did. I would have been disappointed if we didn't."
North pointed to the Cardinals as an example of why his team should not get discouraged. Randolph started slowly last year before winning 10 straight games en route to the state title.
"They are the state champions, but they were also 1-2 last year after three games," North said. "We can't get discouraged. We've got to get better every day, every game, and that's what we're shooting for."
Hunt led the Wolverines with 31 yards on seven carries and he completed 5-of-10 passes for 81 yards.
Westfield travels to Portville next weekend, while Randolph hosts Ellicottville/West Valley.
"It's been a while since we last played them," Brown said of the Eagles. "I know they're returning a lot from the Class DD (sectional) championship team so we'll see. We've got a lot of things we can improve on, I know that."