Sep. 24—TRANSFER — Jalen Wagner took one last carry into the end zone to cap a special night for the Reynolds senior.
It was Senior Night and he scored eight times. But more importantly, he set the Mercer County single-game rushing record in a 64-0 win over Maplewood Friday night.
Wagner rushed for 394 yards and eight scores on 24 carries. In 2013, Lakeview's Blake Reddick ran for 391 to set the previous record. He also went over 1,000 yards rushing in his fifth games.
"I'm blessed with the wheels that God gave me, the speed that I have," Wagner said. "I just used it to my advantage."
Wagner played until the final whistle for the Raiders (3-0, 4-1). After a short punt set up Reynolds at the Maplewood 37-yard line, the offense was told to take a couple false start penalties to push the ball back before the final drive.
"When he was close to the Mercer County rushing record, we figured 'Why not let him get it?' He's a hard worker and he deserves that kind of recognition, that kind of work," Reynolds head coach Joshua Mull said. "No disrespect to Maplewood. No disrespect to anybody else. But when he's that close, you gotta let him try for it."
The Raiders jumped on the Tigers (1-3, 2-3) early in the first quarter. Wagner took a carry 65 yards for a score on the first Raiders drive.
Reynolds quarterback Brayden McCloskey also got a little time in the spotlight after completing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Hayden McLaughlin on the next drive.
After a 66-yard touchdown run by Wagner, McCloskey and McLaughlin connected again on a flea flicker for a 37-yard gain. Wagner found some more open space for a 24-yard run to complete the drive.
Wagner scored on a 9-yard run with three minutes left before halftime to give the Raiders a 36-0 lead as they headed into the locker room.
The Raiders' star rusher took the first play of the second half 63 yards for his fifth touchdown. After Reynolds recovered a muffed kickoff, he added a 33-yard score to put the Raiders up 50-0 with 10 minutes to play in the third.
Wagner added a one-yard score before closing the scoring with his record-setting 11-yard run into the end zone with 6:49 to play.
"Jalen's a talented runner," offensive tackle Nate Miller said. "He's one of the best I've ever seen ... so gifted. I feel like the line as a whole, we play for him — we block, we make holes."
McCloskey was 3-for-5 passing with 94 yards, a touchdown and an interception. McLaughlin had his two catches for 70 yards and a score. and PJ Winkle caught a 24-yard pass.
The Tigers could only muster 46 yards of total offense, led by running back Ben Giliberto's 53 yards rushing on 12 carries. They only picked up five first downs.
SENIOR NIGHT SURPRISE
In addition to scores by Wagner, McClosky and McLaughlin, another senior got some attention with some points.
When he wasn't blocking or blowing up Tigers at the line, Miller saw some time on special teams.
The 6-2, 250-pound offensive tackle and defensive end was 4-for-4 on point after attempts.
"Coming into this game I was like 5-for-11," Miller said. "Not the greatest but (Mull) gave me a chance and it ended up being a decent night kicking."
REMEMBERING A RAIDER
During the pregame festivities for the seniors, the school also honored Noah Geiwitz. The Reynolds three-sport athlete died in April.
Geiwitz's family walked onto the field along with the seniors. The public address announcer read his list of accomplishments and life goals.
At the end of the game, the missing Raider was on Wagner's mind.
"Stats like these don't come without hard work," Wagner said. "Once again, I just want to dedicate the game to my friend, Noah (Geiwitz), who passed away a couple months ago."
MAPLEWOOD 0 0 0 0 0
REYNOLDS 14 22 21 7 64
R — Wagner, 65 run (B. McCloskey run).
R — McLaughlin, 33 pass from B. McCloskey (run failed).
R — Wagner, 66 run (B. McCloskey run).
R — Wagner, 24 run (McLaughlin pass from B. McCloskey).
R — Wagner, 9 run (run failed).
R — Wagner, 63 run (Miller kick).
R — Wagner, 33 run (Miller kick).
R — Wagner, 1 run (Miller kick).
R — Wagner, 11 run (Miller kick).
5 First downs 8
43 Rushing yards 407
3 Passing yards 94
5-1-1 Att-comp-int 5-3-1
46 Total yards 501
5-3 Fumbles-lost 0-0
3-30 Penalties-yards lost 7-43
Rushing: MAPLEWOOD — Giliberto 12-53, Phillips 5-14, Beuchat 3-8, Woge 4-2, Crum 1-(-3), Doubet 3-(-4), Kinney 5-(-27); REYNOLDS — Wagner 24-394, B. McCloskey 2-8, Gentile 1-5.
Passing: MAPLEWOOD — Proper 2-1-1-3; REYNOLDS — 5-3-1-94.
Receiving: MAPLEWOOD — Kinney 1-3; REYNOLDS — McLaughlin 2-70, Winkle 1-24.