RANDOLPH — For the most part, the Class D Randolph defense showed it could hang with a ‘B’ school, Olean, on Friday night. Except when the ball went to Gavin Kulp.
Kulp, a senior wide receiver, played a part in all three touchdowns in the Huskies’ first victory of the season, 19-8 over the Cardinals in non-league play. He caught two big passes from quarterback Railey Silvis and set up a third score by returning a third-quarter punt for 58 yards.
As exciting as those three game-changing plays were, Huskies coach Phil Vecchio warned that his team can’t rely on Kulp to grab jump balls in every game.
“We like our chances with Gavin,” Vecchio said of Silvis’ throws up to the tall receiver. “He's a really good receiver, he's 6-2, but obviously you can't live and die with that. Other teams are going to gameplan for that and put somebody over the top of him, so we're going to have to be able to do some other things.”
While a week or two later than Vecchio had hoped, the Huskies (1-2) have their first win after losing to Dunkirk, 7-6, and Pioneer, 24-14.
“Hopefully it gives them some confidence that we can build upon,” Vecchio said. “It wasn't pretty out there for a long time. Offensively, I thought they were giving us some stunts and getting off the ball hard. Defensive ends for them were crashing hard. I thought they really played well and made our offense look pretty feeble at times. Gavin had a great game, obviously, Railey is getting more comfortable back there. They made big plays for us but we have to be able to do more than just kind of throw it up and let Gavin get it. I don't know about the stats, I thought Nick (Pantuso) had a pretty good game. It was like feast or famine, it was a 15-yard run or a minus-2-yard run.”
Kulp had two catches, both touchdowns, for 59 yards. First he made a 41-yard catch on a jump ball on Olean’s opening drive, then he made an 18-yard grab in the back of the end zone on fourth down in the second quarter. Silvis was 5-for-9 overall for 102 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
“He's getting better every game,” Vecchio said. “The first game, you're a sophomore and you're pretty wide-eyed and he had a decent game. I thought he really played well against Pioneer and then he hit some big plays for us tonight. His ball placement was a little bit better with some of those fade balls to Gavin and Gavin just went up and got it, did a nice job for us.”
Nick Pantuso led the Olean running game with 69 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Nick Fratercangelo added 48 yards on three carries.
The Huskies turned over Randolph four times, with two interceptions (by Pantuso and Ryan Byrne) and two fumble recoveries. Fratercangelo led the OHS defense with 9.5 tackles and Cole Anastasia had a sack.
Isaac Hind had a team-high 63 rushing yards for Randolph on 12 carries. Quarterback Tyler Hind, his cousin, had 53 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Alex Finch led the RCS defense with 10 tackles before leaving with an apparent injury. Ashton Bushey had Randolph’s interception.
“It wasn't too bad,” Cardinals coach Brent Brown said of playing Olean, a larger school. “The one thing we wanted to do was get out of here without anybody getting hurt. Unfortunately we lost three. I don't know of the extent of our injuries, but with our numbers, it was like a Chinese fire drill over there. That was the only downer out of the whole thing, that we may have lost a couple kids out of it. I thought our kids played hard. We just had some mistakes, playing kids that are bigger than us.”
The passing plays that gave Olean its first two scores didn’t catch Randolph by surprise.
“We were prepared, actually our coverage was right there, they just went up and got it,” Brown said. “That's all. What are you going to do?”
The Cardinals got on the board in the fourth quarter, grinding out an 11-play, 60-yard drive all on rushing plays.
“Other than that one drive, it seemed like 12 plays there,” Vecchio said of his team’s strong defensive performance. “I told them in the huddle, I don't know where we are mentally sometimes, but I guess it's tough to sustain that for 48 minutes.
“It's nice to get a win. We needed a win and we had to get it.”
Olean 6 6 7 0 — 19
Randolph 0 0 0 8 — 8
Olean — Gavin Kulp 41 pass from Railey Silvis (5 plays, 80 yards); pass failed, 6-0
Olean — Kulp 18 pass from Silvis (9 plays, 74 yards); kick failed, 12-0
Olean — Nick Pantuso 12 run (1 play, 12 yards after Kulp 58-yard punt return); Max Linderman kick, 19-0
Randolph — Tyler Hind 14 run (11 plays, 60 yards); Alex Finch pass from Hind, 19-8
First Downs 12 10
Rushes-Yards 27-138 34-128
Passing Yards 102 34
Comp-Att-Int 5-9-1 7-12-2
Total Offense 240 162
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 5-40 4-35
Punts-Avg 4-32.3 4-34.0
Total Plays 36 46