If Friday is any indication, the power structure in the MCL has changed. Powerhouses Smith Center, Plainville, and Osborne all lost their first games of the year.
If week one is any indication, there will be a new MCL champion in 2012. Friday night, the Panthers handed last year’s champion, Plainville, a 48-18 loss.
Phillipsburg used just 25 offensive plays all night, but quick strikes meant the squad utilized each of the plays. Hunter Kohler put the Panthers on the board in the first quarter. After stopping a long Cardinal march at the five-yard line, Sean Newlan connected with Tad Thompson for an 88-yard touchdown and 14-0 first quarter lead.
After Plainville cut into the lead, Newlan again went long, this time to Seth Derr for 49 yards. Grant Wickham added a 13 yard touchdown run, and Thompson returned an interception 31 yards for a 36-6 lead. Plainville scored before the half, but Newlan again took over in the second half, connecting with Derr for an 84-yard strike, and running in from 46 yards out for the final score of the game. The senior connected on all four pass tries for three scores and 223 yards. He finished with 55 rushing yards, and Michael Dusin added 55 yards. Derr finished with 133 yards and two scores on two receptions.
After posting a 5-13 record over the last two seasons, the hard work may be paying off for several Golden Eagles who are again back on the roster in 2012. Friday, Trego had a chance to show its abilities against MCL-foe Osborne, a team that reached the semifinals in 2011. After a close first half, Trego scorched the turf in the second half, pulling away for a 70-36 win.
Tied 20-20 after one quarter, Osborne scored twice in the second quarter to take a 36-28 lead into the break. The second half would highlight one school on both sides of the ball. Trego put up 36 points in the third quarter, and never allowed another Osborne touchdown.
Running backs Clayton Riedel and Devon Ghumm led the charge of seven runners who piled up 449 rushing yards. Staples took 22 carries for 171 yards and three scores. Ghumm added three more touchdowns and 156 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback John Griffith nearly hit the century mark with 90 yards and two scores on just eight carries. He threw for two more touchdowns and 81 yards on 3-of-7 passing. Defensively, he picked off two Jake Tiernan passes.
The Railroaders had a funny season last year, losing their first four games, then going 5-1 the rest of the way. Friday, Ellis had to take on returning Class 2-1A runner-up LaCrosse. The Railroaders came up just short in a 16-6 defensive battle.
LaCrosse managed more than 300 yards of offense, but the Ellis defense allowed just two scores. One came in the first quarter on a 41-yard run from Levi Morss. The Railroaders had an answer in the second quarter when quarterback Blake Hudson broke for a 67-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed and Ellis would never have a chance to take the lead as LaCrosse added a final touchdown in the third quarter. Hudson finished his day with 99 yards on 17 carries, throwing for another 51 yards on 9-of-14 passing, including two interceptions. Hudson also picked off a pass on the other side of the ball. Gage Younger had the other 21 yards of offense on nine carries.
Perennial 2A power Smith Center is used to rolling over opponents. Friday night, the Redmen met their match. After a scoreless first quarter in Norton, the Blue Jays went on to lead 14-7 at the half, taking over in the final two quarters to win 34-13.
Norton used a balanced attack of 151 rushing yards and 141 passing yards to accomplish the job. Quarterback Dalon Miller opened scoring from two yards out, then connected with Andrew Ellis for a 21-yard strike and 14-0 lead.
In the second half, Tanner Furbush got in the mix with a six yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Jacob Brooks added a 16-yard touchdown, then Furbush scored again, this time from three yards out for a 34-6 lead. Smith Center’s only two scores came on big plays of 80 and 60 yards.
Brooks led the rushing attack with 97 yards on 22 carries. Furbush added 31 yards on six rushes. Miller completed 11-of-17 pass tries for 141 yards. Ellis caught five of those passes to lead the team with 79 yards.
After a run to the semi-finals a year ago, the Bulldogs ran into trouble in week one of action in 2012. Friday night, Osborne led 36-28 at the half, but Trego pulled away in half two for a 70-36 win.
With powerhouse Damon Schurr missing from the backfield, the Bulldogs relied on other familiar names. Kenton Ubelaker took 17 carries for 128 yards and three touchdowns, adding five catches for 70 yards and another score. Maverick LeRock finished with 68 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. With Ethan Slothower gone at quarterback, Jake Tiernan stepped in to complete 6-of-11 passes for 74 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.