ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Ready scored on its first six possessions and rolled to a 45-14 victory over Woodsfield Monroe Central last night in a Division VI regional semifinal at Sulsberger Stadium.
Akili Taylor rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries for the second-seeded Silver Knights, who will be making their first regional final appearance since 2008. Ready (11-1), which opened the season with a win over Newark Catholic, will meet the fourth-seeded Green Wave on Friday at a site to be determined.
“Our first six possessions, we got it going and we felt really good about it,” Ready coach Joel Cutler said. “It makes it easy for me when our kids execute the game plan that well. We were real pleased with their effort.”
Aiden Dulin’s 29-yard field goal gave Ready a 3-0 edge at the 7:47 mark of the first quarter. The Seminoles (8-4) fumbled on their ensuing possession to set up Taylor’s first TD on a 14-yard run, extending the Silver Knights’ lead to 10-0.
Monroe Central answered at the end of the first. Curtis Nixon passed over the middle to Gavin Morton for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 10-7.
The Silver Knights took over from there. Nickolas Chapman’s 1-yard run, Taylor’s 33-yard run and Matt Yoho’s 32-yard pass to Kelly Culbertson added up to a 21-point second quarter, and Ready led 31-7 at halftime.
Taylor, who recently received a scholarship offer from Navy, ripped off a 15-yard touchdown run just under three minutes into the third quarter as the Silver Knights kept coming. Chapman found the end zone again from 1 yard out to cap the scoring for Ready with 9:01 left to play.
Levi Brown’s 3-yard touchdown run for Monroe ended the scoring with 2:24 remaining.
Yoho was 7 of 12 passing for 218 yards and a touchdown. Nixon, operating out of a spread offense, was 20 of 33 for 168 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Monroe Central.
The Silver Knights totaled 241 rushing yards and held the Seminoles to 70 yards on 20 carries.
“This is huge. Me personally and most of my teammates, we have never been this far (in the tournament) before,” Taylor said. “I feel amazing right now.”