PORTSMOUTH — The Titans had no problems getting their rushing attack established Saturday night as Notre Dame defeated Symmes Valley 34-6 at Spartan Stadium.
Notre Dame (5-2, 3-1) rushed for 296 yards on 31 attempts. Sam Kayser led the Titans with 174 yards on the ground and and three touchdowns. Isiah Johnson also reached the century mark, rushing for 111 yards and two scores score.
Two of Notre Dame’s touchdowns came via the big play as Kasyer broke off a 90-yard run in the first quarter and Johnson capped off the night with a 53-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve lived and died by that this year,” Titans coach Bob Ashley said. “You’ve got to give Symmes Valley credit. They came out with a good defensive game plan. We struggled for a little bit with them and to their credit, they did a nice job of scouting us.”
The Titans’ gameplan was to get to the edge, which was difficult to accomplish in the beginning but became easier as the night wore on.
“We tired different formations to get the defense to over commit and if we can’t get to the edge, then we’ll counter you back,” Ashley said. “But you’ve got to give Symmes Valley some credit. Their kids played hard and they gave us some problems.”
The slow start came after Notre Dame fumbled its opening possession. The Titans were forced to defend a short field and after giving up two 4th-down conversions on the drive, Notre Dame denied the Symmes Valley third 4th-down attempt, giving the Titans the ball inside their own 5-yard line.
Notre Dame didn’t take long to capitalize on the bad field position as Sam Kayser took the handoff on a sweep, cut back against the grain and out ran all 11 Viking defenders to the endzone, covering 90 yards in the process.
After forcing a punt on the next drive, the Titans embarked on a five play, 35-yard drive, which was capped off by an Isaiah Johnson 3-yard touchdown run.
Notre Dame’s biggest problem on the night was holding onto the ball as the Titans fumbled three times, losing all three in the process.
“We talked about that before the game, ” Ashley said. “It seems like anytime we turn the ball over, we struggle. We struggle mentally from there on out. You can’t fumble the ball and have any success. We got lucky tonight.”
In the second half, Kayser and Johnson were just adding to their stat total as both runners scored in the fourth quarter to put the game into a running clock situation, which occurs when a team has built a 30-point lead.
The Vikings finally scored to end the running. Unfortunately for Symmes Valley, the touchdown came with one second remaining on the clock.
Notre Dame — Kayser 90 yd run (Cassidy kick), 1:24
Notre Dame — Johnson 3 yd run (Cassidy kick), 9:44
Notre Dame — Kayser 13 yd run (Cassidy kick), :36.4
Notre Dame — Kayser 12 yd run (Failed kick ), 11:16
Notre Dame — Johnson 53 yd run (Cassidy kick), 8:14
|Symmes Valley||Notre Dame|
Rushing — Symmes Valley: Cade 7-30, Holmes 9-16, Sheppard 5-13, Hayes 10-12, Lucas 4-0; Notre Dame: Kayser 20-174, Johnson 14-111, Mader 3-14, Cassidy 2-(-3)
Passing — Symmes Valley: Lucas 4-6-72, Hayes 1-2-(-2); Notre Dame: Cassidy 1-1-30
Receiving — Symmes Valley: Angelo 5-70; Notre Dame: Mader 1-30
Symmes Valley 1-6 (0-4); Notre Dame 5-2 (3-1).
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.