The Shaw Eagles ran into a wrecking ball Saturday night at Joseph Yenni Stadium, and boy were they smashed.
Rummel, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A, scored on all seven of its possessions in the first half before cruising to a 56-14 victory in the District 9-5A opener for both schools.
The victory was the 12th consecutive for the Raiders (6-0, 1-0), the defending Division I champion, who ended a four-game streak by the Eagles (4-2, 0-1).
Rummel defensive back Andre Danove intercepted passes by Shaw quarterback Matt Keller on the Eagles’ first two possessions, and things snowballed from there.
“Those two interceptions, they had no chance to get (running back) Trey Ragas rolling,” Rummel coach Jay Roth said. “Short fields. (Quarterback) Chase (Fourcade) really executed well. We got up fast. That really helped us.”
Fourcade rushed for three touchdowns and passed for three in the first half alone, as the Raiders powered to a gaudy 49-7 halftime lead. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 200 yards and gained 36 yards on eight carries in the half.
Shaw had an inauspicious start against such as formidable foe.
Needing to play all but mistake-free football, the Eagles turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage. Keller, trying to go deep to top receiver Bryson Simmons, was picked off by Danove at the Rummel 47.
Five plays and 53 yards later, Fourcade ran what amounted to a power sneak, going 4 yards up the middle for the score.
After the ensuing kickoff. Keller, on third-and-10 from the Shaw 25, threw deep again, and Danove plucked it out of the air at the 50, giving Rummel the ball at the Shaw 48 at 9:13 of the first quarter.
Rummel drove for a 14-0 lead in eight plays, scoring on Fourcade’s 1-yard sneak.
“We weren’t expecting that,” Fourcade said. “We built on (the early scores). Our offensive line did great.”
Asked if his plan was to try to catch Rummel off guard with deep passes early, Shaw coach Scott Bairnsfather said: “We wanted to throw. They’re one of the best teams in the state, and it’s difficult when you put yourself in a hole like that.”
Keller was held to 4-of-11 passing for 69 yards and the two pickoffs in the first half. However, the Raiders defense also shut down the run, with Ragas being held to 27 yards on eight carries. The Eagles gained 23 yards rushing in the half.
Mercifully, both teams kept the ball on the ground in the second half, hastening the time eclipse of time with a wee bit of help from the time-keeper. Rummel didn’t throw a pass in the second half, and Keller passed twice, one of which was a 46-yard touchdown to Ross Davis with 7:43 left in the game.
Rummel’s lead reached 56-7 four minutes earlier, when receiver David Hensley, in motion, scored on a 7-yard jet sweep.
The Raiders next play St. Augustine at 2:30 Saturday at Tad Gormley Stadium. The Purple Knights lost to Brother Martin 41-29 on Saturday.
“We just have to execute every down, every play,” Fourcade said. “I know St. Aug is coming off a loss and they’ll come out ready to play on Saturday.”