REPLAY: Rummel opens title defense by blanking Hammond

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HAMMOND – Rummel relied on a strong defense and a complementary offense in capturing the third state championship in school history last fall.

Despite replacing most of the starting lineup, the Raider defense picked up where it left off last season in a 41-0 victory over Hammond Friday night at Strawberry Stadium.

The game was broadcast live on Crescent City Sports.

After allowing first down on the opening possession of the game, the Rummel defense forced eight consecutive three-and-outs. The Raiders held the Tornadoes to 10 total yards through the first three quarters and 44 total yards for the night.

“It was a good start,” said Rummel coach Nick Monica. “We didn’t know what to expect (from Hammond’s offense), but I’m proud of the way we handled it. It was a pretty good start to the season, but we’ve got to continue to get better.”

After going three-and-out on its first offensive possession, Rummel scored touchdowns of each of its next four drives to take a 28-0 halftime lead.

Kyle Wickersham found Nicholas Howard for an 11-yard touchdown to get the Raiders on the board with 2:33 left in the first quarter.

After a stop and a short punt, the Raiders needed just three plays to cover 22 yards, with Notre Dame commitment Logan Diggs going the final yard for the score on the second play of the second quarter.

Two plays after getting the ball back, Rummel was in the end zone again on a 23-yard pass from Wickersham to Keith Robertson, making it 21-0 with 8:03 left in the half.

The Raiders’ longest drive of the night – 57 yards in eight plays – made it 28-0 in the final 90 seconds of the half as Daniel Sabido covered the final yard.

A 40-yard pass from Wickersham to Cameron Francioni on the second play of the third quarter made it 34-0, and sophomore running back Ahmad Garner capped the scoring with a 31-yard TD on the first play of the final period.

Rummel finished with 355 total yards – 182 rushing and 173 passing. Despite a handful of new targets in his receiving corps, Wickersham completed 14 of 19 passes for 173 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

“We executed like we wanted to,” said Wickersham, a University of Richmond commit. “The (offensive) line did a great job of protection.”

Wickersham said he met with his receivers during the coronavirus to throw at a local playground. “That’s how we had the chemistry going into this game,” he said.

While Rummel’s Catholic League brethren open district play next week, the Raiders head to Lafayette for a non-district showdown with defending Division II champion St. Thomas More.

“We’re fired up for it,” Wickersham said. “They’ve got some big-time players on their team. We’ve got some big-time players on our team. It’s going to be great to duke it out.”

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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