CENTERBURG — It took about a quarter and a half for the Centerburg Trojans (2-0) to get rolling.
Once they got rolling, they couldn’t be stopped.
A 30-minute lightning delay and the Lucas Cubs (1-1) proved to be no match for the Trojans as they marched to a 38-7 nonconference win in their Friday night home opener.
“Early on, we didn’t execute real well on offense,” said Centerburg coach Jim Stoyle. “But, again, our defense was outstanding. We’ve got good skill kids and they are good at what they do.”
The Trojans, who rolled up 289 yards rushing for 17 first downs, got an early field goal from kicker Brett Sockman from 33 yards. The Cubs, however got the ball at their own 28 yard on the ensuing drive, featuring an 11-yard pass from Lucas quarterback Cole Barrett to Tyler Roberts to get their team down inside the 5-yard line. Lucas running back Nicholas Swainhart carried in on third and 6 to give his team a 7-3 lead with 8:25 to go in the first half.
That would be the only time that Lucas would be on top in the game.
On the ensuing drive, Centerburg quarterback Tyler Stoyle, handed the ball to 210-pound running back Joey Valentine five times. Valentine, who wound up with eight carries for 43 yards, took it in for the score from the 1-yard line to put the Trojans ahead, 10-7, with less than six minutes to go in the half. That was the first of three rushing touchdowns in the game for Valentine.
The Trojans took it right back three plays later, when defensive back Zac Holsopple picked off a Barrett pass and took it down inside the Lucas 20. After a pair of Stoyle (14-of-25, 156 yards) passes to wide receiver Silas Beals and a pair of runs by running back Jeremy Sesma (17 rushes, 181 yards), Valentine took it in from the 4-yard line on fourth and goal.
“It was very good,” said Valentine. “Our linemen did a heck of a job. I just wouldn’t stop. I just kept going.”
Centerburg had one more chance with a little over a minute to go before halftime. This time, Stoyle targeted receiver Holsopple as well as sophomore Jake Stewart. Stewart finished the drive with a touchdown catch on third and goal from the five. That gave the Trojans a comfortable 24-7 lead at the half. Stewart had six catches for 81 yards in the game.