Beavercreek was on the run during its opening week “Backyard Brawl” against Xenia, and there was no slowing the visiting Beavers down during their 35-6 win Friday night at Doug Adams Stadium.
The Beavers bulldozed Xenia, led by senior fullback Kaden Wenger, who topped the 100-yard mark while scoring two touchdowns.
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Establishing the run was paramount for the Beavers, who employ the triple-option, a scheme predicated on the quarterback reading the defense and deciding whether to keep the ball, hand it off, or throw.
“That’s the most important thing for us every night,” Beavercreek coach Nic Black said.
Wenger was the main beneficiary.
“It’s important to establish just a smash-mouth game of football and it’s always nice when I can get some yards and touchdowns,” Wenger said.
Wenger and his offensive line established their dominance in the first half, and Xenia couldn’t catch up.
Beavercreek scored first behind a 13-play, 69-yard drive, culminating in a short touchdown run by Wenger.
Wenger set up the Beavers’ second scoring drive of the first half with a 64-yard rush through the heart of the Buccaneers defense.
“At first, I didn’t think [a hole] was going to happen. Honestly, it goes by way too quickly. One minute you’re in the backfield, the next your down the field,” Wenger said.
Fullback Stevie Llanas capped the 9-play, 98-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to give Beavercreek a 14-0 lead.
Xenia knew the Beavers were going to go heavy on the run. Stopping it was the problem.
“Like our coach said all week in practice, for us to win, we’ve got to stop their quarterback and their fullback, that’s the main point of their offense,” Xenia senior defensive back Jelani Tucker said.
Despite an effective rushing attack, Beavercreek hand delivered Xenia some opportunities to get back in the game.
Tucker helped close the gap to 14-6 (missed PAT) with a 22-yard pick-6 of Beavercreek quarterback Cody Hocker with 6:48 to go in the third.
Beavercreek immediately took the momentum back, after a big run from senior Jordan Wiliams, which later set up another score, to bump the lead to 21-6.
Wenger put the finishing touches on a superb effort by doing what great backs do — run all over tired defenses in the fourth quarter. The 6-1, 240-pounder ripped off another big run, and later scored his second touchdown, pushing Beavercreek’s lead to 22 with 7:34 to play.
“He’s good, he’s good, We’ve got to come back harder and we just have got to keep working,” Xenia defensive end Jamille Henderson said.
Xenia was heavily committed to the run, too, running 19 times in the first half, but coach Trace Smitherman tried to go big early on with deep ball to standout receiver Meechie Harris, a top Division I recruit.
With the pass falling incomplete, Harris pounded the turf near the 30-yard line, foreshadowing the long night he and his teammates would endure.
Beavercreek goes for win No. 2 on the road against Carroll next Friday at 7 p.m. Xenia (0-1) plays at Troy on Thursday at 7.