By ANDREW WILLIAMS
ARLINGTON — After an all-Ohio junior campaign in which he rushed for 2,168 yards and amassed 43 total touchdowns, many people were probably left wondering what Arlington running back Austin Rettig would do for an encore.
He didn’t waste any time answering them.
Behind an offensive line that returned four starters from last season’s squad that was a regional finalist, Rettig torched East Cleveland Shaw to the tune of 230 yards on 37 carries and three touchdowns as the Red Devils got the 2014 season off to a strong start with a 26-0 victory Saturday at Doc Castor Field.
With the size and speed of the players in the secondary for Shaw, which competes in Division II, Region 3, Arlington coach Dick Leonard felt like the most beneficial matchup for his team was in the trenches.
“They’re a very fast team and very athletic,” Leonard said. “Going in we felt we were going to be a little more ground-oriented to hopefully matchup our offensive line to their defensive line. We would have probably liked to throw the ball a little bit more and do some things but we felt we matched up better with them up front.”
Leonard and his staff were right in that aspect.
The Red Devils rushed 50 times for 249 yards and scored all four of their touchdowns on the ground. The Cardinals recorded just 48 yards on 25 carries and could never get anything going in the run game.
“During the scrimmage season we did so well against teams that were bigger and faster than this team,” Shaw coach Rodney Brown said. “But I’ll tell you what, these guys (Arlington) played their heart out. They outplayed us and they outcoached us. All praise goes to them. I’m not going to take anything away from them because we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
Rettig got the scoring started with a 4-yard run less than five minutes into the game and quarterback Dominique Fuller capped off a 6-play drive with an 11-yard score four minutes later. Grant Heaster knocked home both extra points to give Arlington a 14-0 lead.
It was the defense, though, that came up big for the Red Devils at key moments.
After Fuller’s touchdown, Shaw’s Brandon Harris took the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to setup the Cardinals in excellent field position at Arlington’s 20-yard line.
Deshyn Young hit Javon Bryant for an 11-yard gain on fourth down that made it 1st-and-goal for Shaw at the 1-yard line.
Young was stuffed on two straight quarterback sneaks before Andrew Winegarner was dropped for a three-yard loss. On fourth down, Young was stopped for no gain and the ball was turned over on downs to the Red Devils.
“The goal line thing was really impressive,” Leonard said. “That would have given them a lot of momentum and I think it would have been a 14-7 game and then coming out of half we had to kick it off to them. That changes the whole complexion of the game if we don’t get that stop right there. That was good to see.”
The teams played to a scoreless draw in the second quarter, due mostly to the fact that Rettig capped off a 12-play drive that lasted nearly six minutes by fumbling the ball into the end zone where it was recovered by the Cardinals for a touchback.
That didn’t slow him down a bit, though, as the senior notched scoring runs of 2 and 1-yard in the third quarter. Neither extra point was good, but the lead was extended to 26-0.
“In the second half they started bringing linebackers. We didn’t quite have the same success,” Leonard said. “I was disappointed somewhat in our conditioning late in the fourth quarter. I thought we started tailing off a little bit.
“Definitely glad with a win, that’s for sure. Not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into a little bit. It’s a quality win for us. Hopefully we can build on that.”
Fuller finished 3 of 9 for 47 yards, hooking up with Aaron Starr twice for 33 yards. Young was 11 of 26 for 115 yards through the air for the Cardinals, with Winegarner hauling in four passes for 55 yards. Devonte Dunn was the team’s leading rusher with 42 yards on nine carries.
Shaw did get put itself in position to score late, but a loss on 1st down, followed by a false start and three straight incomplete passes put those hopes to rest.
The Cardinals finished with just 170 yards of total offense, seven first downs and were plagued by four interceptions.
“We can throw the ball. We’re going to be able to throw the ball real well this year,” Brown said. “We’ve got two first-year quarterbacks. We’re going to have to make some adjustments but we’re going to be a good football team. I know they’re very well-coached, I know they’re disciplined and it showed. We got beat by a better football team today.”
East Cleveland Shaw 0 0 0 0 — 0
Arlington 14 0 12 0 — 26
Arl — Rettig 4 run (Heaster kick)
Arl — Fuller 11 run (Heaster kick)
Arl — Rettig 2 run (kick failed)
Arl — Rettig 1 run (kick failed
East Cleveland Shaw Arlington
First Downs 7 18
Rushes-yards 25-48 50-249
Passing Yards 122 77
Comp-Att-Int 12-28-4 4-11-0
Punts-Avg. 3-29.7 1-22
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 12-82 5-45
rushing — (ECS) Dunn 9-42; Patton 3-21; Bryant 7-(-6); Young 5-(-6); Winegarner 1-(-3). (Arl) Rettig 37-230; Fuller 9-17; Glick 2-4; Babb 2-(-2).
passing — (ECS) Young 11-26-115; Dunn 1-2-7. (Arl) Fuller 3-9-47; Babb 1-2-30.
receiving — (ECS) Winegarner 4-55; Pitts 3-33; Harris 3-17; Bryant 1-11; Cooper 1-6. (Arl) Starr 2-33; Solt 1-30; Glick 1-14.
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