MADISON TOWNSHIP — Declan Rohr spread the wealth Friday at STARTEK Stadium.
Ashland’s senior quarterback threw four touchdown passes to three different receivers and ran for another as the Arrows overcame a sluggish start for a 45-7 win over Madison.
The Rams (0-3) trailed 14-7 early in the second quarter and had an opportunity to tie the game but an errant shotgun snap on third-and-goal from the Arrows' 2 was recovered by Ashland’s Braylen Hider. Madison’s defense forced a three-and-out but Madison muffed the ensuing punt and Ashland’s Jonathan Metzger recovered.
Ashland (3-0) capitalized when Rohr scored on a 3-yard keeper for a 21-7 lead with 9:31 to play in the second quarter.
“It was unfortunate that we had that happen. It was obviously a big turning point in the game,” Madison coach Dave Stupka said. “But we’re extremely proud of our players tonight because we made drastic strikes since last Friday night (a 63-0 loss at West Holmes).”
Rohr’s short TD run opened the flood gates in the second quarter. Ashland parlayed a pair of interceptions in the final 3:39 of the half into two touchdowns and a 35-7 halftime lead. Senior Chase Dillow’s interception with 3:39 remaining led to Rohr’s 26 yard scoring strike to Tommy Carpenterwith 3:03 to play in the period. Jakob Beverly picked off a pass that ricocheted off a Madison receiver helmet with 32 seconds remaining in the half. Two plays later Rohr hooked up with Landon McFrederick on a 5 yard scoring strike with just four seconds remaining in the half.
“He can read it and throw it pretty well,” Ashland coach Sean Seder said of Rohr, who completed 20 of 31 passes for 260 yards. “Sometimes he questions himself but he kind of opened it up after that first quarter.”
Ashland forced four first-half turnovers, turning them into 21 points.
“Turnovers have been a huge focus for us all off-season,” Seder said. “Any time you can get a take-away, we’re always trying to take advantage.”
Madison’s lone score came after Rian Lunsford recovered an Ashland fumble. Sophomore quarterback Hunter Hutcheson connected with Ian McGregor for an 11 yard score with 4:11 remaining in the first quarter.
“Hunter is a first-year starter but he has a tremendous work ethic,” Stupka said. “He loves to practice and he tries to get better and it showed tonight. He really was impressive.”
Madison opened the season against Wooster, West Holmes and Ashland — the top three teams in the Ohio Cardinal Conference. The Rams’ next three opponents are a combined 1-7.
“We’re not pleased with the result, but this is a step in the right direction for our football program,” Stupka said. “We’re headed in the right direction and we’ve got to keep it going in that direction.”