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R-MC Football Blanks CUA for Third Shutout of Season

Jake Pinkston tackle.
Jake Pinkston tackle.

ASHLAND, Va. – The Randolph-Macon defense held Catholic to 126 yards of total offense, including minus-23 yards rushing, in a 21-0 ODAC and Homecoming victory Saturday afternoon at Day Field.

The Yellow Jackets (6-1, 3-1 ODAC) recorded their third shutout of the season, the most in a season since the 1981 squad blanked three opponents. Of the 14 drives for the Cardinals (3-4, 0-4 ODAC), only one reached R-MC territory. CUA did not reach the Red Zone, the third time the Yellow Jackets kept an opponent out of the Red Zone.

Neither team could put points on the board in the first half. Each team took snaps in its own end of the field until late in the first period, when senior Marcus Mitchell (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) snagged an interception on the penultimate play of the quarter on the CUA 41. The Yellow Jackets drove to the CUA 8, but a missed 25-yard field goal kept the contest scoreless. The Cardinal moved into R-MC territory late in the second quarter, but were stopped on fourth down on the R-MC 27 with 37 seconds left until intermission. The teams would head to the locker room in a scoreless tie.

The Cardinals were held without a first down on their first possession of the third quarter. R-MC took over on its own 47 and drove 53 yards in nine plays. Senior Dom Kaopua (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) carried the ball on the final six plays for 28 yards, including the final two into the end zone to give the Yellow Jackets a 7-0 lead with 9:34 remaining in the third period.

Early in the fourth quarter, sophomore Julian Drew (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) punted out of bounds at the CUA 3. The Cardinals lost a yard on a pair of rushes and threw an incompletion on third down. The CUA punt was fielded by senior Eric Long (Burke, Va./Lake Braddock) and returned 18 yards to the CUA 28. It took the R-MC offense four plays to reach the end zone, as Kaopua rushed three times for 26 yards and sophomore Eric Hoy (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) took it the final two yards for a touchdown, giving the home team a 14-0 advantage.

Another three-and-out for the Cardinals gave the Yellow Jackets the ball on their own 30 following a punt. Sophomore Joseph Vairo (Coral Springs, Fla./Westminster Academy) hit sophomore Sean McDonald (Boyce, Va./Clarke County) on a 70-yard touchdown pass, with McDonald breaking a tackle to take it all the way down the near sideline, giving R-MC a 21-0 lead with 10:43 remaining in the contest.

Kaopua finished with 115 rushing yards on 27 carries with one touchdown. Vairo completed 18 of 25 passes for 148 yards and one score. McDonald had five catches for 96 yards and one TD.

Senior Michael Farry (Woodbridge, Va./Forest Park) paced the Yellow Jackets with 10 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss. Junior Jake Pinkston (Alexandria, Va./Robinson) had seven tackles, three tackles for loss and one quarterback sack. The R-MC defense had 11 tackles for loss (-41 yards), including three quarterback sacks (-22 yards).

R-MC entered the game as the fifth-best team in the country against the rush, allowing 53.0 yards per game on the ground. That number has dropped to 42.1 yards per contest.

Randolph-Macon hits the road next Saturday, Oct. 29, for a 1 p.m. ODAC contest at Washington and Lee in a battle for first place in the conference standings.