HAMILTON — The Badin Rams and Hughes Big Red met at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton on Friday night for an early-season, non-conference matchup.
The Rams came into the matchup ranked second in the state in Division II, and they showed why.
Badin went on to beat Hughes 49-12, extending its regular season winning streak to 33 games. The Rams moved to 5-0 on the season.
The first drive was a steady progression for the Rams. Led by Zack Yordy and Aidan Brown, Badin marched into the red zone after just a few plays. The Big Red (1-4) put up a fight, tackling Brown for a loss on first and goal, but Yordy would punch it in on second down to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.
Hughes’s first drive would produce next to nothing for the Big Red. A 3-yard loss, bad snap and quarterback keeper would see the visiting team punt the ball back to Badin, which took over at the Hughes 43.
The Rams didn’t waste any time striking on a play eerily similar to Auburn’s miracle win over Georgia in 2014. Hughes’ defensive back tipped up a possible interception, and Brown caught it in stride and scored from 43 yards out — giving the Rams a 14-0 lead.
Hughes gave the ball back to Badin soon after when TJ Engleman threw an interception caught by Kai Sample-Philpot. The Rams were in an excellent position for another quick score. However, a solid defensive stand by Hughes and a dropped screen pass by Yordy on third down set up a fourth and long. A Hughes defender made a great open-field tackle to turn the ball over.
“We knew those guys were going to play hard,” Badin coach Nick Yordy said. “They had a couple of athletes. They made some plays here and there, but we responded well. There are a couple of plays in certain situations that we have to capitalize on.”
But errant snaps and a disciplined Badin defense wouldn’t net Hughes much.
Rams quarterback Alex Ritzie led another slow, steady drive with the help from running backs Yordy and Lem Grayson. It was the Ritzie-Brown connection on a goal line fade that resulted in Brown’s second receiving touchdown on the day.
“(Ritzie and Brown) are obviously good, but there are some other guys out there that can make plays, too,” Yordy said. “We feel we have some guys out there that can pop one or hit a big one at any point in time. Whoever’s open (Ritzie) has to get them the ball.”
Hughes scored on the ensuing drive. Engleman connected with his brother, Lorenzo, on a pseudo–Hail Mary on second down for a 40-yard score to bring it to within 21-6.
Nevertheless, Brown would strike for his third touchdown of the half. He took the ensuing kickoff back for a score. After some confusion amongst the referees, a flag on the play would be called on Hughes. The score stood, and Badin extended their lead to 28-6.
The end of the half wouldn’t see any more offense from either side. Badin threatened, but a Ritzie to Brown connection at the goal line was thwarted after Hughes defenders jarred the ball loose and recovered the fumble to take over and ice the half away.
Hughes came out of the locker room in a different form than they entered it. All three of the Engleman brothers teamed up to add six points to their total. Lorenzo put together a catch and run to get to the red zone, then TJ and Elijah connected for a touchdown on the right side of the endzone. Hughes trailed 28-12 after the score, putting the Rams on notice.
From there, the game got out of hand.
Badin scored after a long, meticulous drive led by Yordy, who cashed in for his second score of the game — bringing the score to 35-12.
Hughes went three and out on the ensuing drive, with the bad snap bug returning yet again. The snap was sent over the punter’s head, and after a scramble for the ball, Badin recovered it and walked in the endzone to extend the lead to 42-12.
Badin added on another score in the final two minutes to close it out.
Brown led the Rams with three touchdowns, two coming through the air and the other on a kickoff return. Zach Yordy added two scores on the ground.
Badin takes on Fenwick to open up Greater Catholic League Coed play at Edgewood.
“We haven’t really thought about it,” Yordy said on the impending conference game. “Obviously, we got through this game. Now we know GCL play starts. That’s a big matchup. They’re going to be fired up. We have to get ready for a GCL battle.”