McBride and Moeller offense put on a show for Hamilton in 42-7 Crusaders win

HAMILTON, Ohio — Chad Murphy saw what he thinks his Hamilton High School football team can become Saturday night when the Moeller Crusaders cruised past the Big Blue, 42-7, in a season-opening Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown game at Hamilton’s Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium.

“We saw what the next level is right there,” Murphy said. “I really believe the kids in blue are going to learn from this, and we’re going to roll from here.”

But Saturday, it was the Crusaders who rolled, and it started with the opening kickoff when junior RJ Khayo returned the kick 86 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead for Moeller only 16 seconds into the game.

Less than three minutes later, Moeller junior quarterback Miles McBride hit senior receiver Eric Wills on a third-and-long play for a 95-yard touchdown pass and it was 14-0 with 8:49 to play in the opening quarter.

McBride added an 8-yard touchdown strike to senior tight end Brendan Bates in the first quarter and a perfectly thrown 28-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Carrington Valentine early in the second and the rout was on.

“We’ve been ready for this since Dec. 5 last year,” McBride said. “This has been on our mind the whole offseason and everything just worked out well for us.”

Senior running back Colin Thurman’s 4-yard touchdown run late in the second gave the Crusaders a 35-0 halftime lead and much of the second half was played under a running clock.

Moeller was able to do nearly everything coaches wanted in the first half.

“I was really happy with the execution,” Moeller coach John Rodenberg said. “We had too many penalties that stopped things, especially on defense, which we have to eliminate. But overall, as far as execution on special teams, on defense and offense, I was pleased with it.

“A couple times, we gave them yardage with penalties. If we’d eliminate those penalties, we’d have shut them down.”

McBride, who was named the Crusaders’ Most Valuable Player for the game, capped the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Bates late in the third quarter to account for the final score. The quarterback, who is also a star on the state runner-up Moeller basketball team, completed 12 of 13 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

“To be in the state championship game in basketball and then to come onto the football field, he doesn’t get too flustered,” Rodenberg said. “He’s going to get better and better as a quarterback. I really believe he’s a Big Ten quarterback.”

McBride completed passes to four different receivers, including four connections each with Bates and Khayo.

Thurman led Moeller with 38 yards on six carries and Moeller outgained Hamilton, 263-160.

“We have DI talent at every position, that’s for sure,” McBride said. “Caden Clark is a great talent, Brendan Bates, Eric Wills, Jack McCracken. It’s just easy for me … they make my job easy.”

The Big Blue knew they had a tough task entering the game and welcomed the challenge and opportunity to learn from the game.

“We are a team trying to get over the hump, and we knew what was coming in here when we scheduled them,” Murphy said. “We knew what was coming in here. You want to believe that you’re heading in the right direction and I believe that. There is not a doubt in my mind.”

Sophomore quarterback Khaliyal Sowell got his first varsity start under center and completed 6 of 15 passes for 37 yards and two interceptions, adding 52 yards on 12 carries and a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

“I will stand behind that guy,” Murphy said. “I have his back. I thought he played a great game. He’s got things to work on just like everybody else. Great kid and a great competitor. I thought he managed the offense well. We just couldn’t get any rhythm on offense.

“I’m proud of him and the way he played.”

Hamilton’s MVP was senior running back Jarrett Maleek, who carried 14 times for 77 yards against a stout Moeller defense.

“I like their running back,” Rodenberg said. “I’d love to have that type of running back. He’s a guy you could give the ball to 25 to 30 times a game and he’s going to just pound through yards. They’re going to have a good season. Their offensive line is tough. They get a couple things fixed up and they’re going to be fine.”

Hamilton will play at Kettering Fairmont Friday at 7 p.m., hoping for its first win.

Moeller, meanwhile, will travel to Louisville next week to play Kentucky large-school power Trinity on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Crusaders want to improve too.

“We have to take a look and check our run blocking,” Rodenberg said. “We don’t think we’re a great run blocking team, so we wanted to run the ball in the second half. We did get some success. Just some of the finer things of football and we have to eliminate the mistakes.”

Box score
M-Khayo 86 kickoff return (Thibodeaux kick)
M-Wills 95 pass from McBride (Thibodeaux kick)
M-Bates 8 pass from McBride (Thibodeaux kick)
M-Valentine 28 pass from McBride (Thibodeaux kick)
M-Thurman 4 run (Thibodeaux kick)
H-Sowell 6 run (Oliva kick)
M-Bates 4 pass from McBride (Thibodeaux kick)

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