WELLINGTON — If Cody Fortney had blue ink on his hand Friday night, the majority of Wellington’s defense would look like smurfs.
The Buckeye running back stiff-armed through Dukes in the second half to help the Bucks to a hard-fought 28-21 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division victory.
Despite the soggy surface of Dukes Stadium, Fortney made it look easy as he pushed off defenders to get 162 of his career-high 224 yards in the final two quarters.
“I like to use it when fields are like this and you can’t juke too much,” said the senior, whose four touchdowns were the most by a Bucks player since 2008. “I like to stiff-arm and get as much yards as possible to get first downs. Sometimes it works and sometimes they go down and grab your ankles, but tonight it was definitely working.”
After the Dukes (0-8, 0-5) dominated the line of scrimmage in the first half to keep the score 7-7 at halftime, Fortney took over.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder was like a bowling ball, knocking off Wellington players left and right with that stiff-arm or by just running over them. In the third quarter, the Bucks (4-4, 4-1) had just two drives — both of which were dominated by Fortney, as he gobbled up 112 of his yards.
“Cody’s our guy,” Buckeye coach Mark Pinzone said. “He knows that and he has to take over. We hang our hat on him, both offensively and defensively. He’s a big, strong guy and has done everything we’ve asked of him.
“When’s he not playing good, then it’s a problem for us and he knows it. We had that talk this week about when’s he off, we’re off, and tonight he was on.”
Both third-quarter drives ended in Fortney touchdowns. The first was from 16 yards — set up a 31-yard scamper from slotback Nathan Scott — and the other on a 46-yard sprint to give the Bucks a 21-7 edge.
While the offensive line provided gaping holes, Fortney kept his legs churning after stiff-arming the first defender to pick up more and more yardage.
“I just try to run my feet whenever I get hit,” said Fortney, who also had a sack. “The big thing is whenever you hit contact, keep moving. Your feet are most important when you’re running the ball, and I just tried to stay up as long as I could.”
The Dukes responded with a rushing touchdown in the opening seconds of the fourth by Jacob Kakos, but the Bucks put together another long drive with Fortney and quarterback Christian Petek (14 carries, 64 yards) taking turns carrying the ball.
In the end, their ground attack was just too much.
“You have to give credit to Buckeye’s backs. They ran the ball well,” Dukes coach Matt Stoll said. “They ran the ball hard, and I was very impressed. We had to have a stop somewhere in there to get back in the game.”
Wellington failed to convert on the next drive, as it marched to the Buckeye 28-yard line before Joseph Holliday (9-for-19, 102 yards) had three passes deflected — the final one by Trevor Thome.
Holliday got his revenge after the Dukes forced a three-and-out, finding Collin Kmitt on a 25-yard slant to pull the Dukes within a touchdown, but the onside kick was scooped up by Buckeye’s Jeff Susalla.
“This is a huge game to win, and we knew that we had to get back on track,” Fortney said. “We want a winning season.”
|Wellington had a Pink Out night in support of a cure for breast cancer. Both teams wore pink socks, fans wore pink shirts and even the numbers and lettering on the field at Dukes Stadium were pink.
Though the Dukes cancelled today’s junior varsity game due to limited numbers, Buckeye will still play a JV contest today at Edwin Steingass Field against Fairview. Kickoff is slated for 10 a.m.
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Buckeye 28, Wellington 21
BUCKEYE 0 7 14 7 — 28
WELLINGTON 7 0 0 14 — 21
W — Chase Bealer 44 run (Evan Marsh kick), 9:09.
B — Cody Fortney 1 run (George Rusinko kick), 2:24.
B — Fortney 16 run (Rusinko kick), 8:40.
B — Fortney 46 run (Rusinko kick), 4:05.
W — Jacob Kakos 33 run (Marsh kick), 11:22.
B — Fortney 10 run (Rusinko), 6:12.
W — Collin Kmitt 25 pass from Joseph Holliday (Marsh kick), 0:40.