MELROSE PARK – Early in the second quarter Saturday at Fran Fanelli Field, after an Aurora Central Catholic receiver dropped a perfectly thrown pass by senior quarterback Matt Schaefer, a Charger assistant coach turned to a colleague and said, “Now you know why we’re a running team.”
ACC (4-2, 2-2 SCC Gold) proved early in a 41-6 thrashing of Walther Christian (formerly Walther Lutheran) that it could run the football. Before the day was over, the Chargers proved they could also throw it a little.
ACC rolled up 251 yards on the ground, with Brian Bohr gaining 89 yards on just seven carries and Julian Rios adding 85 on 10 attempts.
“We were just clicking,” Bohr said. “The offensive line was just holding their blocks, doing a great job pulling. Everything was just going right.”
The Chargers took the game’s opening kickoff and drove 60 yards to a touchdown in six plays. Bohr had a 27-yard run on the drive, set up by some nice downfield blocking.
“We’ve worked on that a lot,” ACC coach Brian Casey said. “Those receivers know it’s expected. I think that’s kind of the difference between having 15-yard plays and 30-yard plays.”
Schaefer capped the drive with a 2-yard run on a keeper up the middle.
Late in the first quarter, Rios fielded a punt on the bounce at his own 33 and headed up the left sideline, then cut across the grain, reaching the Bronco 18-yard line before he was finally dragged down. On the next play, Bohr took a handoff behind the left side of the ACC line and took the ball in for a touchdown despite having a defender grab his facemask.
“It was wide open,” Bohr said of the hole created by the line. “You could have drove a truck through it. I’m not going to lie. It was the line. It wasn’t me, at all.”
The Chargers’ third scoring drive, early in the second quarter, featured a couple nice runs by Rahn, who finished with 49 yards rushing on six carries. Cody Ekstrom scored the touchdown on a 1-yard plunge.
“We were doing a really good job of communicating because they have so many defensive fronts,” Ekstrom said. “We did a good job of saying who was picking up who.”
Ekstrom, a senior linebacker, also was a factor defensively, helping ACC limit Walther to two first downs and 86 yards of offense in the first half. The Broncos (1-5, 1-3) could muster only 38 yards rushing in the opening two quarters.
“We obviously worked a lot on their dive and counter series,” Ekstrom said, “and especially containing the quarterback because he’s a great athlete. I think we did a good job sticking to our keys and our basic rules we learned at the beginning of summer.”
Walther quarterback David Walton was held to 25 yards rushing on eight carries and 65 yards passing. He completed 4 of 13 passes.
ACC didn’t have much success through the air initially, either. The Chargers’ first seven attempts at passing failed, with a sack and some overthrows to go along with a pair of drops. But Schaefer hit on try No. 8 during a drive that ended with a 1-yard TD run by Rios and senior lefty Kyle Reilly came in to connect on all three of his pass attempts, including a 39-yard scoring strike to a wide open Bohr.
“We were trying to get Matt a little bit of confidence,” Casey said. “Obviously, we know Kyle can throw it. Right now we’re just kind of in that dynamic where Matt does so much for us in the running game. That’s kind of where we’re at. The more chances we give him, the better we are, and he’ll continue to get better. He had a couple drops.”
Reilly’s TD pass put ACC up 34-0 at the half. The Chargers had 285 yards of offense before halftime.
Almost all of the second half was played with a running clock. Jeff Kus recovered a fumble at the Walther 8-yard-line on the Broncos’ opening possession of the third quarter and freshman running back Kendall Smith scored moments later from 2 yards out to make the score 41-0.
With a host of reserves in the game for the ACC defense, Walther finally got on the board midway through the third on a 7-yard run by Antwan Morrison.
AURORA CENTRAL CATHOLIC 41, WALTHER CHRISTIAN 6
ACC 13 21 7 0 - 41
WC 0 0 6 0 - 6
HOW THEY SCORED
ACC - Schaefer 2 run (Anaya kick), 9:06
ACC - Bohr 1 run (kick failed), :36
ACC - Ekstrom 1 run (Anaya kick), 8:24
ACC - Rios 1 run (Anaya kick), 3:12
ACC - Bohr 39 pass from Reilly (Anaya kick), :49
ACC - Smith 2 run (Anaya kick), 10:12
WC - Morrison 7 run (kick blocked), 5:22
RUSHING - ACC: Bohr 7-89, Sternberg 2-10, Rios 10-85, Smith 5-8, Schaefer 6-49, Spagnola 5-minus 1, Ekstrom 3-11. Totals: 38-251. Walther Christian: Walton 8-25, Willis 5-7, Morrison 8-17, Nordberg 7-35. Totals: 28-84.
PASSING - ACC: Schaefer 1-8-0-4, Reilly 3-3-0-55. Walther Christian: Walton 4-13-0-65.
RECEIVING - ACC: Anger 1-4, Ekstrom 1-11, Baillie 1-5, Bohr 1-39. Walther Christian: McNeil 1-3, Willis 1-minus 8, Duff 2-70.
TOTAL OFFENSE -- ACC 310, Walther Christian 149.