ALBANY – The Wellston Golden Rockets overcame a sluggish first quarter to defeat Alexander 33-14 in the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division opener on Friday night. The Rockets erupted for 20 points in the second quarter to erase a scoreless tie and capture their second win on the season.

“We didn’t play well in the first quarter,” said Wellston head coach Mike Smith. “We put ourselves in a position on offense a couple of times where we didn’t get anything out of it.

“But I thought in the second quarter, we settled down and put some points on the board, and then came out after halftime and did what we wanted too.”

Isaac Molihan rushed for 87 yards on 14 attempts and one touchdown, while Jeremiah Frisby added 46 yards on six carries and two scores for Wellston. The Rockets gained 199 yards on the ground to improve to 2-3 on the season, and 1-0 in TVC Ohio Division play.

In the interim, Tucker Ervin blocked a punt by Alexander, and two plays later, Evan Brown hit pay dirt on a 68-yard catch and run and added a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, helping to give Wellston its sixth straight victory against the Spartans.

Frisby also threw for 170 yards and a touchdown on 5 of 22 passing attempts. The senior quarterback, however, left the game with an ankle injury midway through the third quarter.

Still, Wellston’s offense kicked it into high gear and eventually wore down Alexander’s defense in the second half.

“We made some adjustments to our blocking scheme at halftime,” said Smith. “We planned on them (Alexander’s defense) being in a 4-2 box and they ended up playing us in a 4-3 box, which changed our scheme a little bit. We adjusted at halftime, and we ended up doing a good job against them in the second half.”

Molihan led the Rockets on two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, with Brown capping a 12-play, 77-yard drive for the first score with 6:16 remaining. The scoring drive was aided by a personal foul penalty against Alexander on fourth-and-6 to give the Rockets an automatic first down. Four plays later, Brown plunged in from a yard out.

Alexander went three-and-out on its next series, and Wellston took over at the Spartans 28-yard line after a 15-yard punt by Parker Bolin.

Molihan scored on a 15-yard run three plays later to give Wellston a 33-7 lead with 3:36 left.

“I hope Jeremiah is ok, but I thought Zeke (Isaac Molihan) did a great job for no more minutes than he gets in practice at quarterback,” said Smith. “He gets very few reps, and for him to come out and perform like he did tonight was fantastic.”

Alexander's Isaac Waller, who finished with 95-yards rushing on eight carries, capped the scoring with a 70-yard touchdown run to make it 33-14 with 2:33 showing on the clock.

The Spartans (3-2, 0-1 TVC-Ohio) finished with 112 rushing yards for the game, while Jordan Schulz completed 8 of 26 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted twice in the first half by Wellston’s defense that racked up four sacks.

Wellston held a 392-216 advantage in total offensive yards for the game.

However, there were 189-yards in penalties, as Wellston was penalized 12 times for 109 yards, which included two pass interference penalties in the first half.

“I told the team at halftime to keep playing aggressive. If they (the officials) are going to call it, then they are going to call it,” Smith eluded to the pass interference penalties. “We are going to play physical and do what we need to do to win, and if they are going to call them, so be it.”

Alexander opened the game with Logan Jenkins returning the opening kickoff 65-yards to the Wellston 16-yard line. What appeared to be a promising drive for the Spartans ended when Brown recovered a fumble by Brody Montgomery on the first play.

The Rockets gained just one yard on its first possession and were forced to punt from the Alexander 15.

After the Spartans turned the ball over on downs on its next series, both teams alternated punts, including an interception by Aidan Graham that led to Wellston’s first score of the game.

On the third play of the drive, Frisby hit Molihan while falling to the ground for a 63-yard completion to the Spartans 1. Frisby then burst into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

Gage Downard intercepted Schulz on Alexander's next series, and two plays later, Frisby finished it with a 24-yard touchdown run to take a 14-0 lead.

After forcing Alexander to punt on its next drive, Tucker Ervin blocked a Bolin punt, and it took just two plays for Wellston to widen the gap.

Molihan ran for one yard on the first play, which was followed by back-to-back false start penalties against the Rockets. Then Frisby hooked up with Brown, who outran the pursuit for a 68-yard touchdown.

Alexander got on the board after Montgomery intercepted a pass by Frisby. A pass interference penalty against Wellston aided the drive, followed by a 13-yard run by Waller to the Wellston 10. Two plays later, Schulz found Montgomery in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 31-seconds remaining.

Wellston returns home next Friday to battle River Valley in a TVC-Ohio Division contest at C.H. Jones Field.

“We are now 2-3 on the season and 1-0 in the conference. Right now, that is what we are looking at is our conference,” Smith said. “We are the defending champions, and we are going to defend it as well as we can.”

Senior night will also be celebrated during pregame activities on Friday.

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TEAM STATISTICS

                          W            A

First Downs                               17                    8

Scrimmage Plays                       58                    50

Rushing (No.-Yds.)                    36-199              24-112

Passing (Cmp.-Att.-Int.)             5-22-2              8-26-2

Passing Yards                           193                   104

Total Yards                               392                   216

Fumbles (No.-Lost)                    1-0                   1-1

Penalties (No.-Yards)                12-109              7-80

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING

Wellston: Isaac Molihan 14-87 (1 TD), Tucker Ervin (10-49), Jeremiah Frisby 6-46 (2 TDs), Evan Brown 2-6 (1 TD), Mason Collins 2-5, Cole Kemp 1-4, Kale Faught 1-2. Alexander: Isaac Waller 8-95 (1 TD), Samuel Ohms 5-17, Andrew Wheeler 4-15, Brody Montgomery 1-2, Jordan Schulz 6 (-17).

PASSING

Wellston: Jeremiah Frisby 4-18-2 170 yards (1 TD), Isaac Molihan 1-4-0 23 yards; Alexander: Jordan Schulz 8-26-2 104 yards (1 TD)

RECEIVING

Wellston: Isaac Molihan 2-77, Evan Brown 1-63 (1 TD), Brenton Breech 2-48; Alexander: Logan Jenkins 2-57, Brody Montgomery 2-21 (1TD), Isaac Waller 2-11, Landen Althouse 1-8, Samuel Ohms 1-7.