Landon Hansen, Newton High senior nose guard, set the tone on the first play from scrimmage Friday night. When the snapped football went over the head of Des Moines North starting quarterback Jordan Daniels, Hansen reached Daniels just after he retrieved the ball.
The North Polar Bears lost yardage on the play and would continue to go backwards much of the game. Newton was up 34-0 after one quarter on its way to a 60-2 victory in its home opener.
“We found things we could exploit up front on the line of scrimmages against their offensive line,” Hansen said after the game. “Our defense stepped up tonight. We swarmed to the football and made tackles.”
Pressure by Newton’s defensive unit resulted in short punt by the Polar Bears, which was picked up and returned to the North five-yard line by senior Kamden Kuennen. Newton used four plays to score the first touchdown of the night, a 7-yard run by senior quarterback Garrett Sturtz.
Junior Jacob Murphy kicked the extra point to give Newton a 7-0 lead with 8:28 left in the first period.
North switched quarterbacks with senior Tre’Vawn Jarrett taking over the offense. It was much the same for the Polar Bears — three plays and punt.
The Cardinals needed just two plays to cover the 35 yards to the end zone. Sturtz connected with Murphy on a 23-yard TD pass play. North did block Murphy’s extra-point kick to make it 13-0 at the 6:59 mark.
Jarrett was able to complete a pass to move the Polar Bears to their own 29. They didn’t go any further and punted. Newton muffed the punt and North recovered the football at the 50-yard line.
North decided to go for a fourth-and-six play but Newton senior linebacker Blayden Rhone got a three-for-one play out of it for Newton. He stopped Daniels in the backfield, forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the North 44-yard line.
“It was a struggle all night for them to get a play off on offense,” Newton head coach Ed Ergenbright said. “We still had to take care of business and play hard because when you’re not playing hard that’s when players get hurt.”
Junior running back Josh Miller ripped off a 40-yard run then on second-and-goal, Miller bulled over the goal line from four yards out. Sturtz tacked on the two-point conversion run for a 21-0 lead with 3:23 left in the opening period.
Twenty-three seconds later, senior defensive back Grayson Graham had a pick-6. He intercepted a pass by Jarrett and dashed 42 yards for a TD.
Wrapping up the first-quarter scoring for Newton was Miller. He found a hole or a 25-yard TD run to cap a 55-yard drive by the Cardinals. It was set up on runs by senior Cole Cazett and a pass from Sturtz to senior Trevor Ergenbright.
The Cardinals had seven different players score touchdowns in the game. The varsity offensive unit went to the bench with 9:39 left in the second quarter after Cazett scored on a 14-yard run to stake out a 40-0 lead.
“We came into the game knowing it was going to be interesting. We played really hard, did our jobs and made plays happen,” Cazett said. “I love seeing our younger players in there. They always do a great job in practices helping us out. We had the game under control and it allowed those guys some experience in varsity play.”
Graham got his second interception of the night and third of the season with 8:20 left in the second quarter. The Cardinal offense was turned over to the younger players, who marked 54 yards seven plays. Dylan Farver had a 20-yard TD run with William Cheng kicking the extra point.
Newton took possession again with 3:09 left in the first half. The Polar Bears’ Terriance Foster tackled Farver in the Newton end zone for a safety.
The Cardinals led 47-2 at halftime. The 45-point halftime lead by the Cardinals triggered the running -clock rule for the entire second half.
Newton took the opening kickoff of the second half, drove 68 yards on 12 plays to score. Logan Cummins had a 21-yard TD run with Cheng kicking the extra point. Farver added a 14-yard scoring run with 13 second left in the period.
“The home crowd here is amazing. You can’t beat it,” Hansen said. “They keep us in the game and become the 12th man on the football field.”
Hansen had four solo tackles and one assisted tackle. Two of his tackles were for losses. Twenty players had a tackle or an assisted tackle in the game. Newton did suffer one injury when junior linebacker Mason Lee went out with a foot injury late in the first quarter.
Junior linebacker Thomas Cox had three solos and three assisted tackles while senior safety Zach Combs had three solo tackles. Graham had three solo stops and one assisted tackle, junior linebacker Jaise Gulling recorded two solos and two assisted tackles.
Junior Lazarus Frisch made five unassisted tackles and one assisted tackle, and had one of four fumble recoveries by the Cardinals. Rhone, Logan Henning and Tyler Shives had the other recoveries.
“At halftime, I told our varsity guys this was exactly what we wanted to happen,” Ergenbright said. “We dominated every phase of the game and got our younger players in to play. We wanted to eliminate mistakes, line up correctly, have no blown coverages and make sure we were doing things right. We didn’t do that last week at Waterloo East.”
Miller had four carries for 74 yards as the Newton rushing attack rolled up 338 yards on Friday. Cazett had five carries for 62 yards. Farver ended up with 66 yards on 12 carries and Cummins had 59 yards on eight carries.
Sturtz was 3-for-3 passing for 57 yards. Ergenbright made two catches for 34 yards and Murphy had one for 23 yards. Kyle Long completed 1-of-2 passes with Taylor Greiner making the catch for three yards.
Newton improved to 3-0 and Des Moines North dropped to 0-3. There’s one more week of non-district play for the Cardinals with Burlington coming into H.A. Lynn Stadium Friday for the NHS homecoming game.
“Burlington’s a tough competitor. We’ll study their skills people and prepare hard for them this week,” Cazett said.
Burlington fell to 0-3 on Friday with a 20-13 loss to Davenport West, which broke a 17-game losing streak. Newton beat Burlington 35-21 in 2016 at Burlington.
“We took a step in the right direction but we’ve got work to do. We’ll see another passing offense with Burlington,” Ergenbright said. “The record doesn’t indicate it but Burlington will be the best team we’ve seen this season. It’s homecoming and all the activities which go with that. We have to stay focused.”
Des Moines North 0-2-0-0—2
Newton — Sturtz 7 yd run (Murphy kick)
Newton — Murphy 23 yd pass from Sturtz (kick failed)
Newton — Miller 4 yd run (Sturtz run)
Newton — Graham 42 yd interception return (kick failed)
Newton — Miller 25 yd run (Murphy kick)
Newton — Car. Cazett 14 yd run (Murphy kick)
Newton — Farver 20 yd run (W. Cheng kick)
DM North — Safety-Foster tackles Farver in end zone
Newton — Cummins 21 yd run (W. Cheng kick)
Newton — Farver 14 yd run (kick blocked)
Newton DM North
16 First Downs 7
47-338 Rushes-Yds 24-20
60 Passing Yds 64
398 Total Offense 84
4–5-0 Passing 10-25-2
2-1 Fumbles/lost 6-4
10-45 Penalties/yds 8-45
0-0 Punts/Avg 7-28
Rushing: Newton-Miller 4-74, Car. Cazett 5-62, Farver 12-66, Cummins 8-59, Greiner 5-36, Miravalles 2-8, W. Cheng 3-14, Roush 1-13, Long 5-9, Sturtz 1-(1-3). North-Daniels 10-45, Gaye 3-21, Jarrett 3-(-4), Meshack 7-(-30), Team 1-(-12).
Passing: Newton-Sturtz 3-3-57-0, Long 1-2-3-0. North-Jarrett 10-25-64-2, Daniels 0-2-0-0.
Receiving: Newton-Ergenbright 2-34, Murphy 1-23, Greiner 1-3. North-Meshack 5-23, Temple 3-23, Daniels 1-15, Hall 1-3.
Punting: Newton-none. North-Gaye 4-137 (34.2 avg.), Jarrett 3-60 (20.7 avg.).
Tackles (solos/assisted): Hansen 4/1; Combs 3/0; Cox 3/3; Graham 3/1; Gulling 2/2; Kuennen 1/1; Lee 1/0; Murphy 1/0; King 0/2; Frisch 5/1; Antle 3/0; Henning 1/1; Shives 2/0; Terpstra 1/0; Rhone 0/1; Romberg 0/1; Wolfe 0/1; Failor 0/1; Barr 0/1; Brown 0/1.
Quarterback sacks (solo/assisted): None.
Fumbles (forced/recovered): Rhone 1/1; King 1/0; Frisch 0/1; Shives 0/1; Henning 0/1.
Interceptions: Graham 2
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or email@example.com