FREDERICKTOWN — The Fredericktown football team took a 32-0 lead behind strong running from senior running back Teegan Ruhl, who had 202 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns, and host Freddies (2-1 ) ultimately secured a 39-13 win over visiting Utica.
Utica (1-2) was without senior quarterback Zach Heckman, who was injured. Utica turned to second Hayden Piper and junior Tyler Collura to share duties behind center.
Utica struggled to get off to an early start as Ruhl and company punished the ground defense. Ruhl scored on 4- and 7-yard runs as Fredericktown scored its first two touchdowns on three-play drives.
“We knew they had great players,” Utica coach Charlie Rowley said. “They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. We knew what we were going to get – strong and physical – and we struggled to tackle each other and we really hadn’t had that problem yet this season.
Seniors Ben Mast, Mason Hoeflich and Kaid Carpenter added short touchdown points for Fredericktown before Utica scored late in the third quarter. Junior Logen Fisher scored on a 50-yard pass from Piper to get on the board.
Piper finished 6 for 14 passing for 90 yards. Fisher caught three of those balls for 75 yards.
Junior running back Justin Giffin would cut Freddie’s lead to 32-13 with an 11-yard TD run, and Utica had some momentum in the fourth after executing a successful kick.
The practice that followed stalled and Ruhl took to the court and asserted his dominance, snatching runs of 24, 20 and 15 yards in his final practice of the night. Senior Billy Woodring capped the scoring with a 1-yard dive with 1:17 left in the game.
Despite the scoreline, Utica had a successful night leading the football. Collura gained 115 yards on 14 carries with Giffin totaling 66 yards on 10 rushing attempts and Piper adding 56 yards on nine touches.
“We ran into penalties and ended up in chains,” Rowley said. “We had good looks in the red zone and we didn’t execute. Overall, I think our offensive line played pretty well.
Fredericktown’s flagpole was an effective 8-for-11 pass for 91 yards. Carpenter, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound specimen, ran for 48 yards on seven carries.
Utica will host an LCL crossover match with Licking Heights next week, and Fredericktown will hit the road to face Danville.