In what could have been Radford’s first win of the season on Homecoming night, the Castle Knights’ offensive range shut the Rams out of the celebration as they secured a 20-6 victory.
The journey toward victory was like a slow burn as the Knights scored the game’s first points with only a minute left in the first quarter. Senior kicker Cheydon Costa nailed a 28-yard field goal to end a six minute-long drive where three different receivers caught passes and senior DB Kena Miner played more as a RB than his listed position.
Shortly after the score, Castle junior DL David Keanu recovered a Radford fumble to set up junior WR Logan Albinio for a 37-yard TD run to increase Castle’s lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter.
Giving the offense frequent opportunities to find the end zone was in the playbook for head coach John Hao, who praised his team on their performance.
“They looked good, they played hard,” Hao said. “We’re still trying to put it all together right now and we got a big game ahead of us and we got a lot to do over the weekend so we gotta hit the drawing board right now.”
The Knights’ central difficulty throughout the game was their numerous penalties, costing them field position and momentum. While both teams struggled to reduce their own mistakes, Castle amassed 16 penalties for 170 yards compared to the Rams’ nine penalties for 65 yards.
Despite Radford’s huge score on a 95-yard interception return by senior DB Chase Daack in the second quarter, the Rams wouldn’t see the end zone again for the rest of the night as the defense forced punts on almost every drive.
In the third quarter, the Knights showed their offensive versatility, utilizing sophomore WR Kala Matthews in the wildcat formation on numerous drives, which confused the Rams defense and found a weakness in their lineup.
Hao praised Matthews’ performance and explained placing him under center by rationalizing, “More beef on the inside with a good running back and we moved the ball so it was perfect.”
Matthews scored the final TD of the game on a 5-yard run, but returned to the sideline for the rest of the game as senior RB Blaise Aledo-Estocado operated under the same play for the remaining minutes while the Rams were held scoreless.
Adding a second victory to their record, the Knights are moving forward and looking ahead, notes Hao.
“It was a great win, a lot of effort and hard work, so we’ll just move on to Leilehua,” he said.