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Roxana's Logan Reardon (28) is congratulated by teammates Alec Revelle (14) and Trace Gentry (10) after his first of three touchdowns Friday against Hillsboro
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Roxana signal caller Chance Foss directs the offense at the line of scrimmage on Friday against the Hiltoppers.
ROXANA — Mother Nature couldn't dampen the night for the Roxana Shells Friday at Charlie Raich Field.
With a steady mist blanketing the field, accompanied by cool temperatures and a brisk breeze, the Shells were able to romp past South Central Conference rival Hillsboro 47-25 to win their home opener.
The victory elevates Roxana to 2-1 on the season, while the Hiltoppers dropped to 2-1 with the defeat.
"This was perfect football weather," senior running back Logan Reardon said. "I love it."
The weather definitely didn't hamper Reardon, who punched in three touchdowns on the ground and forced a big fumble which led to a Roxana defensive TD. It comes on the heels of his game-winning field goal in a win over Pana in Week 2.
As a senior, Reardon is wearing a lot of different hats for the Shells.
"This has just been a great experience for my senior year," Reardon said. "I kicked a game-winner (last week). It's all just a great experience and I'm glad to be here."
Roxana head coach Pat Keith is pleased to see Reardon's contributions thus far.
"Logan's having a nice year for us right now and he's doing a good job and all these seniors are," Keith said. "They're all good kids. I'm happy for them right now, but they know this too, we don't want to be satisfied just yet. We want to get better week by week, get wins and go from there."
The Shells controlled the clock to start the game with Reardon pounding it up the gut on a 10-yard TD run at the 5:52 mark of the first quarter, capping a 12-play, 66-yard drive. Reardon missed the kick, so Roxana led 6-0.
It didn't start quite as well on offense for Hillsboro, which fumbled the opening snap and recovered it after a 14-yard loss. The Hiltoppers ended up going four-and-out and the Shells made that hurt.
Roxana scored five plays later on a 22-yard run by Seth Chester with 2:22 to go in the opening quarter. Quarterback Chance Foss found Jarod Foiles for the two-point conversion to put the Shells up 14-0.
Falling behind early was exactly what Hillsboro head coach Aaron Duff did not want to do.
"We talked about how we needed to come out and play four quarters," Duff said. "We've had to come from behind two weeks in a row and Roxana's a good football team. They got that first drive on us and then we fumbled the first snap on the first series and it just kind of snowballed from there."
The Hiltoppers were able to slice into the lead early in the second quarter though. Austin McCaslin slipped in for a 1-yard score at the 11:09 mark of the second quarter. Tristan Sanford's kick cut it to 14-7.
But Roxana answered quickly with Foss tossing a 30-yard TD pass to Trace Gentry at the 9:21 mark of the second quarter. The two-point conversion failed, putting the Shells ahead 20-7.
Roxana stopped Hillsboro on its next possession to get the ball back. It looked like the Hiltoppers had the Shells stopped too, but a penalty for pass interference on fourth and five kept the drive alive.
Reardon capitalized on it, rumbling in for a 3-yard score with 53.2 seconds to go in the half. After another conversion fail, Roxana led 26-7.
A breakdown on defense let the Hiltoppers get the last laugh in the first half, though. McCaslin took off and sprinted 56 yards to the house with 22.6 seconds left. The two-point conversion attempt failed, allowing Hillsboro to cut it to 26-13 entering the locker room.
Keith admitted the Roxana defense needs to do a better job of limiting big plays, but he's seen improvement since the Week 1 loss to Carlinville.
"I think from Week 1 to Week 2 to Week 3 we've gotten better defensively, but we've still got some work to do," Keith said. "But after giving up 64 points Week 1 to a good Carlinville team, we made some big defensive plays to help us tonight. We'll get better. These kids are really putting in work on defense this year."
Reardon added, "Defense wins football games and we've got to keep working. That's our main focus throughout the week. We've given up too many points in three weeks, so we'll keep working on defense."
Roxana's offense expanded the lead in the third quarter. Reardon darted in from six yards out with 6:38 to go in the third. Foiles ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 34-13 in favor of the Shells.
The defense then got in the mix for Roxana. Reardon sacked Hillsboro quarterback Koby Lemon and forced a fumble and Luke Curtis was there to scoop it up and run it in for a 7-yard score on the recovery at the 4:38 mark of the third quarter. The two-point attempt failed, but the Shells upped their lead to 40-13.
"The play on defense was a big momentum changer," Reardon said. "When we picked that up and scored it totally changed the game."
The Hiltoppers did find the end zone two more times. Lemon took in a 2-yard score with 59.3 seconds remaining in the third and then Gavin Twitty plunged in from 1 yard out with 5:39 left in the game.
Sandwiched between those scores, Blake Vandiver sprinted in for a 9-yard TD for Roxana followed by a Reardon extra point at the 7:09 mark of the fourth quarter.
Gentry also picked off Lemon for Roxana in the fourth quarter to set up Vandiver's score.
Statistically, Vandiver led the rushing attack with 13 carries for 100 yards and a score, while Reardon had 16 rushing attempts for 87 yards and trio of scores.
Foss was 6 of 8 for 98 yards and TD, with Gentry being the beneficiary, catching four passes for 73 yards and a score.
Keith is pleased with the progression of his Shells so far and competing as a cohesive unit is the key to the success, according to him.
"I think our kids are buying into what we're doing and they're working hard in practice," Keith said. "Right now it's hard work, attitude and it's playing as a team. Nobody cares about getting credit; it's just about winning as a team."
ROXANA 47, HILLSBORO 25
Hillsboro 0 13 6 6 25
Roxana 14 12 14 7 47
R - Reardon 10 run (kick failed) 5:52
R - Chester 22 run (Foss to Foiles) 2:22
H - McCaslin 1 run (Sanford kick) 11:09
R - Foss 30 pass Gentry (2-point failed) 9:21
R - Reardon 3 run (2-point failed) 53.2
H - McCaslin 56 run (kick failed) 22.6
R - Reardon 6 run (Foiles run) 6:38
R - Curtis 7 fumble recovery (2-point failed) 4:38
H - Lemon 2 run (2-point failed) 59.3
R - Vandiver 9 run (Reardon kick) 7:09
H - Twitty 1 run (2-point failed) 5:39