Upper Arlington High School football coach Mike Golden and some of his players thought the Golden Bears might have depended too much on the pass in back-to-back losses to Marion-Franklin and Cincinnati Elder to start the season.
After how well they ran the football Sept. 20 at Thomas Worthington, UA might be hard-pressed to throw again for a while.
Senior running back Lewis Hughes had 170 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, and UA amassed 403 of its 460 total yards on the ground in a 45-7 rout of the Cardinals in the OCC-Central Division opener for both teams.
“The run (game) is really our key. That’s where we want to be,” said Hughes, who had a 68-yard touchdown run early in the second half to give UA a 38-0 lead. “The first few weeks, we were too dependent on the passing game. We really got things going this week. That’s what we have to do the rest of the season.”
Senior running back Chris Frey added 100 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries as UA defeated Thomas for the fourth consecutive season, improved to 2-2 and gave coach Mike Golden his 200th career win.
UA took a 10-0 lead in the opening eight minutes on sophomore Jared O’Brien’s 34-yard field goal and junior Kyle Kaparos’ 44-yard touchdown pass to senior Jackson Finfrock. Immediately after Finfrock’s scoring catch, the game was delayed for 59 minutes by lightning.
The delay didn’t faze the Bears. Senior Chase Greenlee scored from 3 yards for a 17-0 lead, and on the first play of the second quarter Finfrock intercepted Thomas quarterback Danny Gordon and ran 43 yards for a touchdown.
“I have to thank my fellow safety for the tipped ball,” Finfrock said of Hughes. “I just tried to bring some energy to the game.”
Kaparos threw an 11-yard touchdown to senior Harrison Heath midway through the second quarter for a 31-0 lead. Frey scored from 27 yards in the third quarter for UA’s final points.
Thomas Worthington (2-2) broke the shutout with 2:29 left in the third on senior running back Tony Harvard’s 23-yard score. Harvard paced the Cardinals with 113 rushing yards on 21 carries.
UA did not attempt a pass in the second half.
“I’m always happy when we can run the ball, and we were pretty effective at that,” Golden said. “We’ve settled down and narrowed back to the things we can do. It’s made us a better football team.”
UA—O’Brien 34 FG
UA—Finfrock 44 pass from Kaparos (O’Brien kick)
UA—Greenlee 3 run (O’Brien kick)
UA—Finfrock 43 interception return (O’Brien kick)
UA—Heath 11 pass from Kaparos (O’Brien kick)
UA—Hughes 68 run (Davayios kick)
UA—Frey 27 run (Davayios kick)
TW—Harvard 23 run (Frazier kick)