CENTERBURG — The Centerburg football team made a statement in its opener Friday, totally dominating Utica on both sides of the ball en route to a 52-6 victory.
The Trojans racked up 561 yards of offense, while holding Utica to just 135 and cruising to the win.
“That’s not a bad way to start the season,” said Centerburg coach Andy Colella.
Centerburg made the statement early, going 92 yards on just seven plays on the opening drive. Donnell Marshall had the big play of the drive, busting loose for a 57-yard jaunt that set up a touchdown run by Trey Kendrick.
But, it was the second quarter when the Trojans emphatically took over.
The Trojans scored 28 points in the second quarter to blow the game wide open.
Marshall and Kendrick were having their way running the ball early, as Marshall picked up 137 of his 142 yards in the first half and Kendrick got 91 of hits 107.
A mixture of good blocking up front and breaking a few tackles helped the duo rack up the big yards early. Hayden Hankinson, Garrett Campos, Austin Moreland, Andrew Waddell and Ian McKnight opened some big holes for Marshall, Kendrick and Jarred Rings (82 yards rushing).
“The guys up front do a tremendous job. Some of those guys have quite a bit of experience,” Colella said. “And, we’ve got a couple running backs we can rotate in and out that provide a different look. It keeps them fresh.”
First-game jitters and issues kept Utica from mounting much of a comeback. The Redskins had several penalties early that thwarted possible drives.
“We didn’t help ourselves early,” said Utica coach Charlie Rowley. “I think Centerburg is a solid team that is well coached and flies around defensively. But, we made some Week 1 mistakes. We just had too many mistakes against a good football team.”
The Redskins did have one huge highlight, as Collin McCullough hit Ethan Adams on a 71-yard scoring pass in the second quarter.
A running clock in the second half kept it from getting too ugly, but the Trojans still put up two more touchdowns with their reserves.
Backup quarterback Tyler Johnson was able to tack on 59 yards rushing to go along with Marshall’s 142, Kendrick’s 107 and Rings’ 82. Preston Barber also had 57 yards on six carries.
Starting quarterback Jack Gregory connected on 10 of 17 passes for 94 yards, while Johnson completed all four of his passes for 31 yards. John Wharton caught five passes for 42 yards to lead the Centerburg receiving corps.
Utica was led by Collin McCullough, who rushed for 39 yards and passed for another 93. Adams caught two passes for 76 yards.
Both teams will have tough games next week. Centerburg plays host to Lucas, while Utica returns home to host East Knox. Game time is at 7 p.m.
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