RUSSELL Ethan Oborne held the football tightly with both arms.
And why wouldn't he? Russell's sophomore running back caught Charlie Jachimczuk's two-point conversion pass in overtime that gave the Red Devils a 32-31 win over Simon Kenton at Ivan McGlone Field.
“I'm hoping I get to keep it,” Oborne said.
The Red Devils' 4-0 start is the best to open a season since a 7-0 string in 2007.
The hardest thing about Friday's win was picking a single star because there was a constellation of them: senior running back Nathan Conley, who ran for 90 yards, caught a 20-yard score from Jachimczuk, scored the overtime touchdown and intercepted a pass; Jachimczuk, who threw for two touchdowns; Mason Lykins, who intercepted a pass; and the offense that gained 361 total yards.
“If I don't get to keep (the ball), I probably should give it to Nathan,” Oborne said.
After Conley's 5-yard touchdown in overtime — he stiff-armed a Pioneer defender on the way — Russell coach T.J. Maynard didn't hesitate. He was going for the win.
“Let's roll the dice,” Maynard said. “I'm a guy that always thinks about going for two. I don't want to have a bad snap or a missed kick.”
The flashiest play was “Sluggo,” Jachimczuk-to-Conley — because Conley out-leaped a Pioneer in the end zone. Jachimczuk didn't see the double coverage.
“I always consider myself a runner first,” Conley said. “I just saw that ball and knew I had to catch it.”
Simon Kenton (2-2) had its own mini-galaxy: Jayden Lawson, who ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Chase Crone, who ran for a touchdown and threw for another.
Crone gave the Pioneers their first lead, 7-3, with a 12-yard run midway through the first quarter, which Jachimczuk quickly followed with a 60-yard toss to Doug Oborne.
Russell's defense struggled to contain Lawson. His 12-yard run created a 17-17 tie less than a minute into the fourth quarter, and he needed just one play to travel 10 yards around left end for the overtime score.
Conley moved into fourth place on Russell's career rushing list. One of the most interested fans was older brother Nick Conley, now a senior at Georgetown College and No. 2 on the list.
“I hope he catches me,” Nick Conley said.
S. KENTON 7 0 3 14 7 – 31
RUSSELL 10 7 0 7 8 – 32
R-Nathan Totten 35 field goal, 6:35
SK-Chase Crone 12 run (Nick Seger kick), 5:59
R-Doug Oborne 60 pass from Charlie Jachimczuk (Blake Hern kick), 5:59
R-Jachimczuk 2 run (Totten kick), 2:58
SK-Seger 26 field goal, 2:39
SK-Jayden Lawson 8 run (Seger kick), 11:17
R-Nathan Conley 20 pass from Jachimczuk (Hern kick), 8:59
SK-Braylon Brumett 5 pass from Crone (Seger kick), 0:17
SK-Lawson 10 run (Seger kick)
R-Conley 5 run (Ethan Oborne pass from Jachimczuk)
First downs 15 17
Rushes-yards 26-112 40-181
Passes 15-27-2 INT 7-13-1 INT
Passing yards 113 180
Punting 3-40.0 3-30.0
Fumbles-lost 3-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 5-25
Simon Kenton rushing: Lawson 26-112, Crone 10-53, Carmony 1-(minus-1).
Russell rushing: Conley 18-90, E. Oborne 3-26, Jachimczuk 9-36, Snedegar 10-31.
Simon Kenton passing: Crone 15-113.
Russell passing: Jachimczuk 7-13-180.
Simon Kenton receiving: Lawson 1-5, Little 1-6, Sand 2-6, Courtney 4-26, Livers 2-20, Morrison 1-7, Brumett 5-53.
Russell receiving: Martin 1-3, Conley 3-54, D. Oborne 1-60, Lykins 2-63.