Dukes receiver Nathaniel Shelton caught eight passes for 168 yards and a pair of scores, but the Firelands Falcons (7-0) managed to defeat Wellington (0-7) Friday night 56-26 in Patriot Athletic Conference play.
After two Firelands rushing touchdowns spelled a 13-0 lead with 6:37 remaining in the first quarter, a 30-yard pass from Ben Higgins to Shelton and a six-yard run by Mason McClellan got the Dukes on the board.
However, that momentum didn’t last long as Firelands managed to score 36 unanswered points before halftime, including three touchdowns by running back Nick Denney, who finished with 245 total rushing and receiving yards.
“We want to get a win, but taking some steps forward on offense was huge for the team,” said Shelton. “We’re not doing so hot so it felt nice to make a few plays. It was kind of fighting fire with fire. They were making plays so why can’t we? We all put on the same pairs of pants.”
Quarterback Jayden Skinner connected with Shelton on his scores in the fourth quarter from 27 and 80 yards out.
McClellan carried the ball 13 times for 87 yards and seemed to settle in well in a new spot as the primary tailback.
“We need to take the energy we had tonight and have it every game,” said Shelton. “Out of all our games this year, we were the most hyped up tonight and for Buckeye. We knew what we had to do but just didn’t execute it all the way through.”
Next up for the Dukes is a trip to LaGrange to take on the 3-4 Keystone Wildcats. Coach Roy Moore saw welcomed signs of improvement but said certain mistakes have to be cleaned up in order to get a win before the year is over.
“We were facing their JV and backups late but we also showed some confidence throwing the ball and the ability to get it out on time,” he said. “In the second quarter, we started going where we shouldn’t have gone. We were lined up in the wrong spots and going to the wrong holes. We over-pursued and gave up too many cutback lanes.”
“We need to work on slowing down a bit and not being so over-anxious,” he said. “This Friday, we have a chance if we can play like we did in the second half tonight offensively and defensively. We need to get after the ball carriers more aggressively and just wrap them up.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.