CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) –
Without starting quarterback Isaac Allegretto, South Range Raiders junior quarterback Michael Patrone recovered from a shaky start to propel the Raiders to a dominating 30-7 win over the Bellaire Big Reds in DV, Region 17 playoff action. The fourth-seeded Raiders (8-3) advance to play top-seeded powerhouse Kirtland next Saturday at a site to be named later.
With Allegretto out due to a season-ending injury, Patrone made his first varsity start by completing 15 of 23 passes for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was only 6 of 13 at halftime, but after the nerves had settled, he came out on fire in the second half to the tune of 9 of 10 for 171 yards and the two scores.
“It was crazy,” Patrone said about the experience. “The first half was a little rough, but in the second half, we came in and (really) wanted it. We had to start passing a little bit more because we saw how they kept coming in stopping the run.”
“Isaac helped me a lot,” Patrone praised the injured senior. “He taught me all the plays and went over everything. He helped me a lot. I have to thank him for that.”
The fifth-seeded Big Reds (7-4) grabbed the early momentum in the contest by taking the opening possession and driving 59 yards on 13 plays and eating up 9:54 off the clock. They would score on a 5-yard run by Cole Porter to take a 7-0 lead on the Raiders. But that would be the only time the Big Reds would see the end zone.
“They were in the playoffs last year. Those kids that played last year understood what it took when you get into a playoff game. We weren’t in it last year. Some of our kids, this is their first playoff game starting,” Raiders head coach Dan Yeagley said of the tough match-up with Bellaire.
“They (Bellaire) came in with a great game plan,” Yeagley added. “We just needed to do our job better. That was the key.”
On the Big Reds next possessions the Raiders defense took charge of the game and totally reversed the momentum. After a Raiders punt pinned the Reds at their own 7, three plays later Reds quarterback Jake Heatherington dropped back to the end line to pass. But Raiders senior defensive linemen Corey Kougher flew in to sack Heatherington for safety with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter.
“Those points on the board got us going,” Kougher said of the safety. “We started from there and then we knew we had to get up (on them). That was the start of it.”
“That safety was huge,” Yeagley remarked. “Those two points were more important as the game went on. Especially with the kicking game and everything else.”
While the Raiders offense struggled to get on track in the first half, their defense smothered the Big Reds offense. Following that first drive by the Big Reds of 59 yards, they could only muster a total of 24 yards the rest of the first half. The Raiders defense held them scoreless in the second half while only surrendering 120 yards.
“We knew we had to,” Kougher, who had three sacks on the night, said of the Raiders defense picking up the pace in the game. “We were having some trouble moving the ball a little bit. We stepped up defensively with our line.”
With the Big Reds leading 7-2 at halftime, the Raiders dominated the second half with two touchdowns in the third quarter and two more in the fourth to win pulling away. The Raiders scored two quick touchdowns following halftime when Patrick McCabe ran in from 5-yards out at the 10:31 mark to give them a 9-7 lead, and then following a three and out by the Big Reds, the Raiders scored again on a 49-yard pass from Patrone to Trey Pancake to put the Raiders up 16-7 with 9:04 left in the quarter.
The Raiders would score twice in the fourth quarter on a 31-yard pass from Patrone to Dylan Dominguez to make it 23-7 with 11:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. They closed the scoring in the game on a 38-yard run Dominguez with 6:27 left in the contest.
“We know they are pretty darn good,” Yeagley said of the upcoming game with Kirtland. “Playoff football, anything can happen. You have to come ready to play.”
SOUTH RANGE 2-0-14-14=30
BE – Cole Porter 5 run (Porter Kick)
SR – Safety – Heatherington tackled in end zone
SR –Patrick McCabe 5 Run (Logan Weaver Kick)
SR – Trey Pancake 49 pass from Michael Patrone (Weaver Kick)
SR – Dylan Dominguez 31 pass from Patrone (Weaver Kick)
SR – Dominguez 38 run (Weaver Kick)
Get updated scores, throughout the playoffs on the WKBN scores page.
Looking for standings? Visit the WKBN high school football standings page.
Watch interviews and get player profiles for some of the best players in the Valley – visit the WKBN Big 22 page.