For the first time in coach Eric Brock's five-year tenure, the Newcomerstown Trojans defeated the visiting Caldwell Redskins and the Trojans did it in a big way rolling to a 34-7 win on opening night in Lee Stadium Friday.
It took the host Trojans just three plays following the opening kickoff to set the tone as Newcomerstown covered 62 yards with Jibril Dansby bursting into the end zone from 16 yards out with 10:40 remaining in the opening quarter.
"It was a great night," Brock exclaimed. "All the coaches and players have waited a long time for this. The first drive was a little surprising because we always expect this to be a tough game. Our seniors have never beaten them and they wanted this one.
"I think our players just came out ready to play," he added of the opening drive. "We are still fairly young and we wanted to get our younger players confidence early on."
The Trojans added another score before the first quarter ended, with Cody Hall capping a 39-yard drive following a fumble recovery by Coy Johns at the Redskins' 39.
Hall blasted into the end zone from the three with just 12.6 seconds showing on the scoreboard and Austin King was true on both extra-point kicks for a 14-0 Newcomerstown lead.
Newcomerstown added two more scores the second frame after fumbling away another opportunity.
Hall broke free and scampered 53 yards to paydirt with 6:37 left in the opening half and Chandler Shryock made a spectacular one-handed grab of a Austin Zufelt pass and ourtran the defense for a 42-yard score at the 1:09 juncture.
King added both PATs and the Trojans were sitting on a 28-0 margin.
On the ensuing kickoff, Justin Hardesty split the Newcomerstown defense up the middle and raced 77 yards virtually untouched for the lone Caldwell score.
Alexi Cubas closed out the first half scoring with the point-after boot and the teams went to the locker room separated by the 28-7 count.
"We have a few small adjustments to make defensively," Brock pointed out, "but offensively things went our way. We did get some people dinged up a little, but I don't think it is anything major."
The final score of the night came at the 1:36 mark of the third quarter.
With the Trojans backed up in the shadow of their goal line, Zufelt tossed a screen pass to Shryock who then proceeded to go down the sideline to the end zone for a 92-yard scoring aerial. King misfired on the PATto provide the 34-7 final.
"I don't have much to say," a dejected Caldwell coach Josh Perkins offered. "This is not the way we wanted to start, but we have to go back to work and get ready for next Thursday because it will be a short week. We have to work harder and coach harder and get better.
"We have a lot of young players starting," he added, "and we will be back."
The Trojans had a good night both running and throwing the pigskins, with two backs surpassing the 100-yard plateau as Hall carried 14 times for 149 yards and Dansby added 115 yards on 17 totes.
Zufelt completed 5-of-7 passes for 165 yards with Shryock hauling in four for 160 yards.
Overall, Newcomerstown amassed 421 yards of total offense, limited the Redskins to 144 yards, picked off a pass and recovered a fumble.
"I am very proud of the way the team came out and played," Brock said. "We are going to enjoy this one briefly and then get ready for next week."
Caldwell got its 144 yards all on the ground as the Redskins failed to connect on 10 passing attempts.
Besides the 77-yard kickoff return for the TD, Hardesty paced the visitors in rushing with 73 yards on 12 carries while quarterback John Carpenter added 39 yards on 10 tries and Andrew Minosky tacked on 30 yards on four carries.
NEXT-- Newcomerstown entertains River on Friday at 7 p.m.