SULLIVAN TWP. — Andrew Vaughn is the definition of a game-breaker.
The senior wingback took his game to another level Friday in Black River’s 40-14 season-opening win over Collins Western Reserve.
Vaughn slashed, gashed and thrashed through the Roughriders defense on his way to 343 rushing yards and four touchdowns on just 24 rushing attempts.
“It all starts up front with the line,” Vaughn said. “They were blowing holes open and they were working hard. Whenever an offense puts up stats like that, it has to go to the line. They bust their butts all week and they are the hardest workers in practice.”
Vaughn’s performance placed him in elite company. His yardage total is third in Medina County history and just missed his career-high of 352 set last season against Fairview.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder also joined Wadsworth’s Dru Jones (2005-07) and Buckeye’s Ron Brant (1977-79) in the county’s 4,000-yard club.
“It was an unbelievable night,” Black River coach Al Young said. “We knew it was going to be tough slugging out there, and he’s that kind of kid. Every time he touches the ball, he is a threat to go the distance. He’s a brilliant runner.”
Vaughn put up his numbers despite sitting out 8 minutes of the first half, in which he still gained a ridiculous 245 yards on 12 carries.
The four-year starter opened the scoring with a 30-yard sprint just 2:38 in, then had the momentum-turning run on the Pirates’ third possession.
The Roughriders were poised to even the game after a botched handoff on a reverse from Vaughn to David Bell (19 carries, 97 yards) was recovered by Tyler Grys at the Pirates 39-yard line.
A 29-yard pass completion on second down from Will Pritt (20-of-35 passing, 332 yards, 2 TDs) gave Western Reserve a first-and-goal at the 10.
Aaron Schmitz (11 carries, 64 yards 2 TDs) picked off Pritt in the end zone on the next play to set up Vaughn. Vaughn took the handoff and sprinted up the middle. With two safeties on his heels, Vaughn used a backward stiff arm to gain the needed separation and flew 80 yards to the house.
The senior went on to add a 61-yard touchdown right before the half and a 10-yarder late in the fourth to completely ice the game.
The Pirates finished with 511 rushing yards on 66 attempts and allowed sophomore quarterback Vernon Beard to ease into the starting position. Beard was sacked both times he dropped back to pass.
About the only things the Pirates couldn’t do was stop the passing attack of Pritt and hold on to the pigskin.
Pritt kept finding receivers running open down the seam. The most frequent culprit was Nate Good, who hauled down nine passes for 161 yards.
Despite the big passing numbers from the Roughriders, the Pirates pitched a shutout in the second half and found a way to pressure Pritt, with Brock Waltz (2 sacks) leading the way.
“We were just trying to be as fast as we could off the ball,” said Waltz, a Wellington transfer. “We were trying to get our angles, and a lot of that goes to our linebackers playing heads-up defense. We were stretching them all the way out to the sideline and our linebackers were making tackles.”
Waltz and his defensive line partners sacked Pritt seven times, forced three turnovers and found ways to make critical stops at critical moments.
Despite Western Reserve’s success through the air, it managed just 1 rushing yard on 30 attempts.
“We completely took away one phase of the game,” Young said. “We made them have to throw and forced a couple turnovers. When we had third-and-long or fourth-and-long we got them off the field.”
The victory officially erased the memory of the Pirates’ 28-26 loss to Western Reserve to open last season.
“We had a senior meeting and last year was out of the picture for us,” Waltz said. “We want to go undefeated this year and we want to make the playoffs. We want to show people what we’ve got and tonight was just a glimpse.”
While the Pirates were able to force turnovers, the offense had trouble keeping the ball off the grass as well, coughing up eight fumbles and losing four.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.
Black River 40, Western Reserve 14
WESTERN RESERVE 0 14 0 0 — 14
BLACK RIVER 13 21 0 6 — 40
B — Andrew Vaughn 30 run (Cory Bartolic kick), 9:22.
B — Vaughn 80 run (kick blocked), 3:28.
B — Aaron Schmitz 1 run (Schmitz run), 10:23.
W — Mitch Robson 26 pass from Will Pritt (Jarrett Hreha kick), 9:16.
B — Schmitz 9 run (Bartolic kick), 5:50.
W — Mason Robson 47 pass from Pritt (Hreha kick), 2:37.
B — Vaughn 61 run (kick failed), 0:38.
B — Vaughn 10 run (kick blocked), 2:04.