WHEELING - For the second straight week Linsly's defense played well enough in the first half to keep the Cadets in the game against an unbeaten, Ohio small-school power.
Unfortunately for Coach B.J. Depew and his team, just as in the previous week, big plays from their opponent in the second half and very little offense from his squad were enough to do them in.
Senior Doug Strickler and junior Akili Taylor combined for 249 rushing yards and three touchdowns as Ohio-ranked Columbus Bishop Ready rolled up 307 yards on the ground and did the job defensively against the Cadets in a 32-0 blanking at Lockhart Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Joel Cutler's Silver Knights (6-0) entered the week fifth in Ohio Division IV, Region 14, but still have battles with a pair of unbeaten teams remaining.
Linsly, meanwhile, falls to 1-5 and will return home next week for a Homecoming battle with Western Reserve Academy at 2 p.m.
After a long punt that pinned Linsly back all the way to its own 1, Ready took advantage of the field position swing early on, taking over at the Cadets' 48 a short time later.
The Silver Knights were stopped for no gain on first down before junior quarterback Matt Yoho faked a pitch and went through the right side of the line and didn't stop until he found the corner of the end zone. A bad snap on the PAT kept the score at 6-0 with 56 ticks showing in the quarter.
While the score remained the same at the half, both teams had opportunities with Linsly driving to the Bishop Ready 30 midway through the second and the Knights recovering a fumble in Cadets' territory with under a minute to go.
However, after a 13-yard gainer, three consecutive Yoho passes into the end zone fell incomplete.
"Our defense did an excellent job in the first half and we went toe-to-toe with them," Depew said. "But we allowed them some running room in the second half and they were able to get momentum that we never got back."
A week earlier Linsly headed to the locker room in a scoreless deadlock with Ohio-ranked Shadyside before dropping a 17-3 decision.
It didn't take long for the Silver Knights to extend the margin in the third quarter, when Taylor went through the middle of the line, darted to the right and outraced the Linsly defense for a 77-yard scoring run at 11:13. The pass for two failed and the score stood at 12-0.
The hosts made their way down to the Bishop Ready 6 late in the third quarter, but normally reliable Rainer Whiteside was off to the right on a 23-yard field attempt.
That opened the door for the Knights again with Strickler providing the big play this time, a 48-yard jaunt, untouched, on a pitch to the right with the point-after making it 19-0 late in the third.
Strickler did most of the damage again on the visitor's next drive, capping things off with a 20-yard run, untouched, to the end zone for a 26-0 reading with 8:14 to go.
Following an Austin Carnes interception, Ready padded the lead with a 19-yard toss from Yoho to Alex Eblin to make it 32-0 at 5:11.
"We just made too many mistakes," Depew added. "But this team knows what it is capable of in the first half of games, we just need to focus and do it for four quarters.
"I am very proud of the way we came out and started, we knew we were facing a great football team, and with all due respect to the Ohio Valley teams we have played, maybe the best team we have faced.
"But we allow some big plays in the second half, then miss a field goal and drop a touchdown pass. We need to get all 11 players on the field clicking at the same time and all 47 in uniform involved."
Cutler was very happy with the result, and also very complimentary of the Cadets.
"We just came out in the second half and went to work," Cutler said. "I felt we threw the ball a good bit in the first half and I wanted to get a little more balance in the second.
"Both our offensive and defensive lines did a great job and the defense responded real well to a challenge we gave them this week. Coming in we knew that No. 34 (Chinelo Oparanozie) was a special player, but we contained him.
"We have a lot of respect for Linsly and coach Depew and this is a nice win for us.
"It also keeps us in the playoff hunt, but we still need to get better. There are a couple undefeated teams ahead for us that are very good and we have a lot of improving to do. But we are all very excited to be 6-0."
Ready rushed for 307 total yards on the day, with 221 of that coming in the second half. Linsly, meanwhile, finished with 156 total yards of offense with Oparanozie accounting for 81 of that on the ground.