Clay Archer, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — For two weeks in a row now, and following a 1-5 start, Chillicothe’s football program has flexed its muscles inside Frontier Athletic Conference play.
Friday night, the Cavaliers followed last week’s 49-6 drubbing of Hillsboro with a dominant 44-14 win over McClain … one where they used five caused turnovers to keep the Tigers at bay.
“I really think it helped us playing [against] this style of offense the last couple of weeks,” Chillicothe coach Doug Pryor Jr. said. “We had a bit of a preview of what we saw tonight. They caught us one time on a wing counter, and they scored late, but credit goes to our defensive coordinator B.J. Adams and coach Todd Seymour. They did a great job with the game plan.”
The Cavaliers (3-5, 2-1 FAC) didn’t waste time getting on the scoreboard. Joel Barnes took the opening kickoff to McClain’s 15-yard line before Hunter Thomas found the end zone three plays later, giving his team an early 7-0 lead.
On McClain’s first possession, Chillicothe’s Xavier Doss picked off a pass, setting up Jacob Coffland to convert a 30-yard field goal, making it 10-0 at the 7:23 mark in the first quarter. Later, with 2:10 left in the first, Jaden McNish gave the Cavaliers a 17-0 lead with an interception return for a score.
McClain (2-6, 0-3 FAC) got on the board with 11:07 left in the second quarter when Matt Bliss ripped off a 61-yard run. But Thomas scored twice more in the first half, from two and six yards out, to push the lead to 31-7 at halftime.
“I think [Thomas] was a little hungry after last week because he had to leave with an ankle injury,” Pryor Jr. said. “It was precautionary and we were just trying to be safe with him. We’re happy that he picked up where he left off last week. He had a great game.”
Chillicothe’s Cade Williams made it a 38-7 ballgame with 9:39 left in the fourth when he rushed into the end zone from five yards out before Trevor Lee hit Isaac McCoy with an eight-yard touchdown pass for the Cavaliers’ final score with 4:08 to go.
The Tigers rounded out the final with a 12-yard touchdown pass late in the game.
Thomas ended the night with 11 carries for 62 yards and three touchdowns while Kam Smith added 50 yards on 11 carries. Smith also completed 9-of-12 pass attempts for 47 yards. Doss had two interceptions on the defensive side and McNish added his pick-six.
For McClain, Sam Faulconer was 4-for-8 for 40 yards with a touchdowns and three interceptions. Bliss rushed the ball 15 times for 85 yards and a score while Blake Gall finished with 45 yards rushing on 11 attempts.
The Cavaliers will travel to Miami Trace in Week 9 while the Tigers host Washington.
“I’m happy for the guys to get this victory,” Pryor Jr. said. “It’s a conference win, at home, and it makes two straight wins now. We’re going to Miami Trace on a positive note.”