Anthony Rodgers rushed for a touchdown, threw for a touchdown and had a key sack on defense to set up another score, leading the Delaware Hayes football team to a 36-16 non-league win at Westland Friday night in Columbus.
“I’m just excited for the team and how we overcame the adversity over the week when Cullen (Moore) went down,” Rodgers said. “I was a little nervous, I’m not going to lie. I’m just proud of our teammates who put in all the hard work throughout the week to make it a successful game.”
Rodgers, who started at quarterback for an injured Cullen Moore, did not attempt a pass until he found Todd Toney wide open on the right side for a 55-yard catch and run to give the Pacers a 7-3 lead with 10:15 left in the first half.
“(Westland) didn’t think we could throw,” Golden said. “So, we just sent our tight end on the opposite of the trips and we knew he’d come open and Anthony executed it.”
“We just noticed they didn’t have a deep man,” Rodgers said. “We just executed the play.”
Rodgers used his feet to scramble on a 19-yard bootleg play to set up his own 31-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 13-3 with 1:18 left in the half. He finished with 50 yards rushing.
“That took all the weight off and I was getting more comfortable,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers and Toney hooked up for a 12-yard gain on the drive to set up the touchdown. The two completions from Rodgers to Toney were the only two for the game for the Pacers (3-0).
Moore, who is nursing a rotator cuff injury on his throwing shoulder, entered midway through the third quarter.
“(Moore) could run if we needed him to, but we didn’t want to use him unless we needed him to settle the game down a little bit,” Golden said. “He probably wouldn’t have (played) except Anthony had to go play defense when Warren Clausen got hurt.”
Deven Ward carried the offense for 50 yards a second-half drive. Moore capped the 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown with 2:24 left.
“I feel accomplished … I feel like we had a struggle this week and we got through it,” Ward said. “I think (that series) carried a lot of momentum.”
Ward finished with 99 yards for the game.
“That’s Deven,” Golden said with a smile. “We feel like we have some weapons. He was fired up, so we took advantage of it. He’s extraordinarily fast, so if we can get him into space, he has a good shot to break plays.”
Rodgers made an impact on the Pacers’ next touchdown. He sacked Westland’s quarterback at his own 3-yard line on third down.
After a 27-yard punt, Ward broke off a 22-yard touchdown run with 10:19 left.
Matt Bailey had a big night rushing for the Cougars (0-3), which included a 36-yard touchdown in the opening series of the third quarter to pull Westland within three points. Bailey ran for 138 yards and caught a touchdown pass.
Westland got things started with a solid 15-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal by Elliott Loless with 4:00 left in the opening quarter.
Zach Ruen hit a 24-yard field goal and Ryan Daughenbaugh had a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
“We really wanted to win this game,” Golden said. “It felt like the last two (losses against Westland) got away from us. I was glad we won it going away.”
Delaware continues non-league play at home against Mansfield Senior next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.