Eagles fly past Warriors
Central struggles to contain screen game in loss
Aaron Nelson scored four first-half touchdowns to lead the Dakota Ridge High School football team to a 48-14 win over Central in a nonconference game Saturday night at Stocker Stadium.
The score was a little deceiving since the Warriors played well defensively at times in the first half when the Eagles took a 48-7 lead.
The Eagles took a 6-0 lead on a three-yard run by Nelson. Then, the Warriors’ defense stiffened.
A sack by Jacob Rubalcaba and pressure from Mitchell McCune on a third-down pass forced a Dakota Ridge punt.
The Warriors’ pass rush was effective early, and the run defense played well in the first quarter.
But Dakota Ridge (3-2) made a quick adjustment to Central’s blitzing scheme, and the result was disastrous for the Warriors.
With the Warriors blitzing off the edges, Dakota Ridge quarterback Braxton Thais sucked the rush in and dropped off a perfectly set-up screen pass to Nelson, who broke loose for a 62-yard scoring play.
Later, wide receiver Nick Cohn caught a screen pass, broke a tackle and sprinted down the right sideline for a 61-yard TD to make the score 20-0.
Central responded with a big play of its own when quarterback Wyatt McElwain dropped a high-arching pass right on the fingertips of Joseph Heinrich at the 30-yard line, and the speedy senior took it in for a 57-yard touchdown.
The Eagles’ screen game continued to give the Warriors plenty of trouble.
Nelson again found open space on a screen pass and cruised down the sideline before slipping a tackle at the 5-yard line to score from 60 yards out. He added a 21-yard scoring run to make the score 41-7 near the end of the half.
Two plays later, linebacker Brock Howes ripped the ball away from McElwain and ran it in for a 32-yard TD to up the lead to 48-7 at the half.
Central played without head coach Shawn Marsh, who was serving a one-game suspension for getting ejected from the Warriors’ game last weekend. Defensive coordinator Darrell Simonton filled in for Marsh.
“Before the game we had a talk about effort, and I thought we had a good effort tonight,” Simonton said. “Our kids played hard. We wanted 11 kids playing hard on every play, and I think we got it for most of the game.”
In the second half, Central had several scoring chances and scored late in the fourth quarter on another McElwain to Heinrich connection.
McElwain floated a pass deep down the middle, and Heinrich made a perfect adjustment on the ball. After making the catch in front of his defender, he turned on the jets to outrun two defensive backs and notch his second 57-yard TD reception of the game.
Earlier in the fourth, McElwain connected on a 25-yard pass to freshman Darrion Alton, but the drive stalled, and the Warriors turned the ball over on downs.
McElwain finished with 161 yards passing.