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SHERRARD — The resurgence of the Hall football program continued Friday with a 47-24 victory in a Three Rivers Conference South Division road game.
The Red Devils routed the Tigers by performing well in all aspects of the game — running, passing, attacking the quarterback on defense and shadowing all receivers.
“We went over everything in practice and did what the coaches told us to do,” junior defensive back and running back AJ Gaeta said. “We stayed on our man. They have a lot of formations and motions, so we had a lot to cover in practices, but we just went bell to bell and played our game.”
The defensive assignments were to stop the Panthers highly-skilled quarterback senior Clayton Bjustrom and his array of wide receivers.
The Red Devils did just that as Gaeta intercepted Bjustrom and caused him to throw just as many incompletions as completions —16.
While the defense was holding up its end of the bargain, the offense planted its feet in the Sherrard soil as soon as the game began.
Hall senior running back Collin Aimone took the very first play of the game 65 yards to the end zone with only 11 seconds off of the clock.
“It was just a connection between everyone tonight,” Aimone said. “I was really glad we could see that. We practiced real hard during the week and we had very few mistakes.
“If it wasn’t for our the blocks we were able to get, we wouldn’t have had half of the points we had tonight. We came to play tonight and that’s what we did.”
Sherrard didn’t get much going in the passing game but was able to answer Hall’s touchdown on its third offensive possession with a 2-yard rushing touchdown to top off a 11 play drive — the Tigers’ longest of the game.
Hall knew it had to keep the points coming and did exactly that.
On Hall’s fourth possession of the game, Aimone caught a 60-yard pass from senior quarterback Taggart Venegas and was brought down on the 13-yard line.
Senior back Aaron Kerr then did his part by blasting through the middle of the Sherrard defense for a 13-yard score.
Two possessions later, the Red Devils scored on one play for the second time when Venegas connected with sophomore running back Jake Merkel for a 48-yard touchdown strike.
“We just had something going for us. It was all there for us,” Aimone said. “The plan is always to score, but we had good blocking and good communication. We went over a lot of the stuff they were going to throw at us on film and practiced, practiced. We worked on the little things that usually beat us and didn’t let that happen tonight.”
Aside from a first down on a Hall pass interference penalty, Sherrard (3-3, 1-2 TRC North) failed to get anything going on its next drive.
The Red Devils capitalized with a two-play drive.
Venegas connected with senior receiver Zach Urbanski on a 16-yard pass and then followed it up with a 26-yard touchdown pass to sophomore running back Chris Hammonds with 50 seconds left in the first half.
On their first four scoring drives, the Red Devils used only six plays.
“We put some motion in out of our doubles this week,” Hall coach Randy Tieman said. “We got some kids that can run and they’re fast. We got them outside tonight. Aimone, Hammonds and (Jake) Byczynski made some nice runs for us. We did a good job of going inside-outside on them.”
The Tiger offense got something going in the third quarter with 12 consecutive points as Bjustrom connected with tight end Lucas Boraas on five straight plays to put points on the board.
However, the scare did not faze the Red Devils (3-3, 1-2 TRC North) as they scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lock up the game.
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or at sports@newstrib,com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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