UTICA – The Proctor Raiders were nearly perfect during Saturday’s home game against rival Rome Free Academy.
The Raiders scored on each of every meaningful offensive possession behind a dominating run game that compiled 431 yards in rolling to a 48-7 victory in a featured game in the Great American Rivalry Series at D’Alessandro Stadium. The rivalry dates back to 1891 and is one of the oldest in the nation.
The only time the Raiders failed to score was when they were in ‘Victory’ formation in the final minute. Jalen Woodson rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders (1-1), who completely controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in outgaining RFA 527-270. Senior running back Landon Johnson had 109 and a pair of touchdowns, and senior quarterback Logan Wilcox earned the game’s MVP with 90 yards passing, 73 rushing and three total touchdowns.
“Our offensive line was good,” Proctor head coach Steve Strife said. “We out-leveraged guys and moved them. If you don’t put enough guys up at the line we’ll get six, eight yards a pop. And if you creep up we can break big runs or get behind you in the passing game.”
After winning the toss, the Raiders offensive line, led by center Orlando Cross, set the tone in grinding out a 14-play, 67-yard scoring drive, culminating in a 1-yard keeper by Wilcox. The drive took 6:53 off the clock and Vincenzo Castronovo’s conversion run made it 8-0 with 5:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Johnson capped Proctor’s next two drives with scoring runs of seven and 10 yards to give the Raiders a 20-0 lead with 5:00 remaining in the first half. A 6-2, 250-pound battering ram, Johnson is a perfect complement to the speedy and shifty Woodson. Throw in the dual-threat ability of Wilcox and Proctor’s offense can be a headache for opposing defenses.
“It was very open,” Johnson said. “I just had to put my shoulder down a bit and get what I could. We have a good quarterback throwing the ball and that makes it easier for all of us.”
Also making things easier was the offensive line anchored by the 6-2, 305-pound Cross.
“We knew what we had to do and came out and did it,” Cross said. “Last week we didn’t get it done on the line and this week we came out and got it done. Today it was a mixture of all of our offense. We have quick guys who can make you miss and big guys who can power and break tackles. And our quarterback is the best around, so we don’t always have to run it.”
Late in the half, the Raiders also were able to display their offensive versatility. Wilcox, a Division 1 prospect, expertly sold a play fake and floated a deep pass down the middle to wideout Jasyn Bonner, who extended his right arm and hauled in a pretty 32-yard touchdown connection to make it 26-0 with 1:17 left in the half.
While Wilcox wasn’t asked to showcase his passing talent often, he’s perfectly fine with handing off 50 times if the result is a victory.
“A good run game supports a good passing game,” Wilcox said. “I just want to win the game. However it comes, I just want to win. Running like we did … I’ll take that any day of the week. As long as we’re improving every day, I’m happy. Mentally we were prepared this week and we did a lot of stuff getting ready for this one. It was a good game for us.”
RFA quarterback Tristan Hunzinger threw for 95 yards and had RFA’s lone score on a five-yard run in the fourth quarter. Star tailback Amir Williams had 90 yards rushing for RFA (0-2).
Black Knights head coach Ted Swavely knew what was coming from Proctor’s offense, but his team just couldn’t slow down the Raiders.
“Absolutely I knew they were going to run the ball at us like that,” Swavely said. “We were not physical up front and they have an X-factor in that center. That guy can play. You negate our defensive tackles in a power running game and that hurts.”
Proctor’s defense was also impressive against RFA’s multi-faceted attack. The Raiders swarmed to hold Williams in check and made it tough on Hunzinger to get anything done through the air. The Raiders also forced two turnovers as linebacker Maxx Gotte had a fumble recovery and Woodson, who also plays defensive back, had a nice sideline interception in the third quarter.
“Our defense is still a work in progress,” Strife said. “We didn’t play well last week and that’s on me. We had trouble getting lined up and I’ll take the blame for that. We played much better on defense this week.”
The Raiders lost three starters, two for the season in last week’s 27-22 season-opening loss to Vestal at the Carrier Dome. Wide Receiver/defensive back John Boyd (ACL) and RB/DB Eric Gohringer (torn labrum in shoulder) will miss the entire season. Jalil Pacheco (RB/DE) also sat out Saturday’s game but should be back for the Raiders.
“Those are tough losses,” Strife said. “Today, I just wanted to get through the game healthy. It’s just next man up for us.”
Brandon Treen rushed for 49 yards and Shyreak Harris had 56 yards, a touchdown and a conversion for Proctor, which hosts Baldwinsville at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday.
Cameron Kilpatrick had two catches for 40 yards for the Black Knights, who host Corcoran next Friday night.
Proctor 48, RFA 7
RFA 0 0 0 7—7
Proctor 8 18 6 16—48
P—Logan Wilcox 1 run (Vincenzo Castronovo run)
P—Landon Johnson 7 run (run failed)
P—Johnson 10 run (run failed)
P—Jasyn Bonner 32 pass from Wilcox (run failed)
P—Jalen Woodson 13 run (run failed)
P—Wilcox 11 run (Mike Boyer pass from Wilcox)
R—Tristan Hunzinger 5 run (Logan DeLutis kick)
P—Shyreak Harris 3 run (Harris run)