Jeffrey Pica
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Austin Hannah

Pica runs wild, leading Minford to rout of Northwest

The Falcons move to 3-1.

Austin Hannah, Contributor

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

McDERMOTT — If you didn’t know who Minford’s Jeffery Pica was before Friday, you certainly know who he is now. 

The Falcons’ senior back made sure of that, enjoying a field day and rushing for over 200 yards. He found the end zone on five different occasions, leading the Falcons (3-1, 1-0 SOC II) to a 63-21 rout of Northwest in SOC II action. 

Minford’s Peyton Caudill helped the Falcons top Northwest on Friday.
CREDIT: Renee Nemeth/SOSA

“The past few games, our energy may not have been as good [as it needs to be],” Pica said. “But today, everybody was hyped. We had really good energy all game and I’m hoping it can keep going throughout the season. The more points we score, the more energy we have. It just kept coming.”

However, Pica wasn’t the only one doing damage on the night.

His backfield mate, quarterback Peyton Caudill, brought his A-game as well. He totaled the other four Falcon touchdowns on the evening and wasted no time getting things started. 

On the second play of the game, Caudill called his own number and rushed 65 yards for a touchdown, making it 6-0. Northwest (2-3, 0-2 SOC II) responded, though, with the help of a few Falcon penalties and runs by Jake Brown, Carter Runyon, and Colton Campbell.

Ultimately, Runyon got the final carry of the drive and carried the ball seven yards into the end zone, giving the Mohawks a 7-6 edge with 4:54 left in the first quarter.

On Minford’s next possession, Caudill showcased his arm and connected on a 23-yard strike to Troy Rhodes for a touchdown, putting the Falcons ahead 13-7.

Both offenses continued to be in rhythm. Runyon put the Mohawks back in the lead following a two-yard score, giving Northwest a slim 14-13 lead.

PHOTOS: Images from Minford’s win over Northwest

But Minford was about to put things into high gear. After recovering a fumble, Pica scored on a one-yard plunge to put his team back ahead at 21-14. 

And the Falcons never trailed again.

Following a defensive stop, Caudill used his speed and scored on a 48-yard rushing touchdown, extending the lead to two scores. The Falcons’ defense then came up with a strip sack, recovering the ball at the one-yard line. On the next play, Pica scored to make it 35-14. 

Northwest knew it had to gain at least momentum back, and it would do so as Campbell took a handoff before dashing 16 yards to the house, cutting the deficit to 35-21. 

However, that was all the scoring the Mohawks mustered on the evening. Meanwhile, the Falcons weren’t close to being done. 

Caudill scored his third rushing touchdown of the first half, this one a seven-yard scamper, extending the lead to 42-21 at halftime.

“I think in the second half, our guys really started to settle in,” Minford coach Jesse Ruby said. “We made some adjustments but really, it was just our guys stepping up and making plays, making their reads and flying to the football as a group. It was good to see that. We had a couple of breakdowns in the first half but they came out and fixed those. We played well.”

The rest of the night belonged to the senior back. He had touchdown runs of 51, 28 and 63 yards in the second half to put an exclamation mark on an outstanding night alongside another win for the Falcons.

“I think at the start of the game, [Northwest] was targeting me,” Pica said. “That’s how Peyton got around the edge so much. And our offensive line was amazing tonight, so when they started focusing on Peyton, we started running up the middle, too.”

While the Mohawks look to rebound against Valley next week, Minford is back in action at West in a marquee SOC matchup.

“We tried to pick up where we left off after playing Wellston,” Ruby said. “We played really well at Wellston [in Week 3] and we were efficient that game. It took us a little while to get back in the groove. But I think we hit it and now we have to make sure we can do the same thing next week. West will be a definite test. Each and every week, SOC II football is tough.”


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