By Jay Young
SYRACUSE- The Randolph Cardinals followed up an impeccable 2012 football season the only way they know how - with an even better one.
Randolph senior tailback Chris Doubek rushed for 273 yards in the Cardinals’ 42-13 victory over Chester of Section 9 on Friday afternoon. That effort improved his season total to 2,536 yards, which is a new Section 6 record. The old record of 2,447 was set by Dustin Bowser of Southwestern in 2003.
Photo by Tim Frank
In their first year under head coach Brent Brown, the unbeaten and top-ranked Cardinals captured their second straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship and fourth overall after routing No. 3 Chester, 42-13, at the Carrier Dome on Friday afternoon. Incredibly, all four titles, which tie Caledonia-Mumford for the most by a public school, have come since 2005.
"When you have kids that are as talented as these guys, it makes things a whole lot easier," Brown said.
And Randolph's talent was on full display the day after Thanksgiving.
By The Numbers
Randolph: Mitchell Maycock
5 of 7, 52 yards, 2 TDs
5 of 19, 110 yards, 1 TD
26 carries, 273 yards, 3 TDs
3 carries, 73 yards
8 solo tackles, 2 assists,
3 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks
Randolph 356, Chester 268
Halfback Chris Doubek ended his remarkable season with another dominant performance. In earning Most Valuable Player honors, the senior ran for 273 yards on 26 carries and scored three touchdowns. The rushing yardage pushed his season total to a Section 6-record 2,536 yards, surpassing the mark set by Dustin Bowser of the Southwestern Trojans in 2003. Doubek also had 95 return yards and added two tackles on defense, but chose to defer all the credit to his teammates.
"This is really all about the team,'' he said. ''The line makes huge holes that I just run through, and Lucas (Brown) is always there to make a great block. It's just awesome to finish my career like this with all my friends and family here."
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In fact, Lucas Brown did quite a bit more than just making blocks for his running back.
The 6-foo-1, 195-pound senior played the game of his life at linebacker with 3 sacks (for minus-35 yards), eight solo tackles and two assists. On the other side of the ball, he carried nine times for 24 yards and a score that came late in the third quarter to put Randolph (13-0) up by a commanding 42-7.
Before the Cardinals made the trip to Syracuse, assistant coach Kevin Hind lauded the Cardinals' depth at the skill positions, and that was on display from the get-go against the Hambletonians (10-2).
Junior Bryce Morrison put Randolph on the board on its very first drive of the game, catching a 5-yard toss from senior quarterback Mitchell Maycock and narrowly keeping his foot inbounds for the score.
After the Cardinals gained momentum off Maycock's opening touchdown throw, Coach Brown's defense was stout. In his years spent under long-time head coach Pat Slater, Brown was responsible for coaching Randolph's defensive schemes, and that experience was a nightmare for Chester on Friday. The Hambletonians had their first two drives stall after bone-crushing tackles by Randolph. The first came courtesy of Devyn Nelsen on Angel Suarez, and was followed by Lucas Brown's first sack of the day, which brought up a fourth down.
After getting the ball back, Doubek was able to waltz into the end zone untouched from 19 yards out thanks to more brilliant run blocking. Another rush from the senior in the second quarter made it 14-0 following his successful two-point conversion run.
"We have said it all year long, but our size up front and the play of our guys on the line just wears other teams down," Coach Brown said.
After going down by two scores, Chester showed a brief flash of the offensive potency that many expected to see. On the opening drive of the second period, quarterback Vinny Aloi connected on a 53-yard pass to Suarez, who streaked past his defender into the end zone. An extra point kick from Chris Wittekind narrowed to 14-7, but the Cardinals were just getting warmed up.
From that point on, they dialed up the defensive pressure and Aloi, who threw seven touchdown passes in the semifinal against Moriah last week, struggled to find open receivers with a relentlessly heavy rush.
Randolph moved into a commanding 21-7 lead after help from two costly defensive penalties by the Hambletonians. Doubek finished yet another drive midway through the second quarter from 2 yards out, and Micah Kehoe added the extra point. That touchdown took the wind out of the Chester sidelines, and the nail in the coffin came with two minutes to play in the half when Doubek ripped off a 40-yard gainer for his third score.
If there was ever a doubt who would be selected as the game's MVP, Doubek settled that on the second play of the third quarter. After breaking one tackle near the line of scrimmage, Doubek kicked outside left on a sharp cut and sprinted all the way to the 1-yard line. It was Nelsen who finished the possession on a short throw from Maycock, who added a two-point conversion on another toss to Morrison.
After that, Lucas Brown raised the Randolph total to 42 on a 5-yard carry at the end of the third, and the celebration began.
The Cardinals' first team walked off the field to the roar from their adoring fans, and the underclassmen took their reps.
"I think some of these younger guys know what it takes now," said Coach Brown with a grin on his face.
In the final quarter, Chester's Michael Volkmer found paydirt on a 72yard carry, but the game was already decided.
Sportsmanship awards were given to Randolph's Nick Hettenbaugh, who had two interceptions, and Lawrence Young of the Hambletonians. Michael Bowers was named the most valuable offensive lineman, with Maycock receiving the honor for offensive backs.
Suarez and Randolph's Cody Oldro were named the most valuable defensive back and most valuable defensive lineman respectively.
As the Cardinals made their way home on their coach bus late Friday afternoon, many of them noticed a strangely shaped cloud on the horizon. It was in the distinct shape of the letter ''R,'' and amazingly similar to the one that adorns their helmets.
It was a red-letter day for Randolph in every way.
Randolph 6 21 15 0 - 42
Chester 0 7 0 6 - 13
Ran - Morrison 4 pass from Maycock (Kehoe kick failed)
Ran - Doubek 19 run (Doubek run good)
Che - Suarez 53 pass from Aloi (Wittenkind kick good)
Ran - Doubek 2 run (Kehoe kick good)
Ran - Doubek 40 run (Kehoe kick failed)
Ran - Nelsen 1 pass from Maycock (Morrison pass from Maycock good)
Ran - Brown 5 run (Kehoe kick good)
Che - Volkmer 72 run (Wittenkind kick failed)