After a frustrating start to the season, Napoleon breathed a heavy sigh of relief Friday night, thumping Maumee 49-0 at Buckenmeyer Stadium in a game that saw a running clock for the entire second half.
The Wildcats rushed for 341 yards as a team and held Maumee to 7 yards on the ground, totally dominating the line of scrimmage.
“We talked all week about playing with a sense of urgency,” said Napoleon football coach Tory Strock. “I thought we played with urgency. We had a really good week of practice, it was pretty intense actually, and tonight we just let loose some bottled up frustrations.”
The Wildcats are now 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the Northern Lakes League.
“I am so proud of these guys,” said Strock. “It’s easy to be positive and feel good when you are 5-0 or 4-1. True character come from adversity. I am most proud of the way this team has responded (to adversity).”
It was complete domination from the opening kick-off, with Napoleon forcing a three-and-out and then driving 48 yards in four plays with Justin Aldrich scoring on a 21-yard run for a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
Aldrich scored on a 43-yard run during the Cats’ next possession to make it 14-0 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter it was more of the same, with Autavian Fields capping a nine-play, 62-yard drive with a 4-yard TD run and, after an interception by Josh Mack, Andrew Warncke scored from 1-yard out to make it 28-0.
Aldrich’s third touchdown of the game came on a 6-yard pass play from Warncke with 15 seconds remaining before intermission and assuring the running clock for the second half.
Napoleon did not let up to start the third quarter, with Nathan Brubaker returning the kick-off 72 yards to the 16, where Jarrett Gerdeman ran in for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Hayden Speaks added a 38-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
“We really whittled down the playbook this week,” said Strock. “We wanted to get down to running three or four plays, but running them really, really well.”
The Wildcats had six running backs rush for more than 30 yards, led by Aldrich with 71 yards on four carries. Gerdeman added 65 yards on 11 carries and Fields had 58 yards on nine totes.
“We thought way back in the preseason one of the best things about this team was our depth in the backfield,” said Strock. “I thought that showed tonight. Gerdeman had an illness bug and missed a couple days of practice so it was important for Aldrich to step up and do what he did.”
Maumee quarterback Zach Marvin was 12 of 22 passing for 116 yards with an interception. He also had negative-26 yards rushing as he was sacked six times.
Napoleon travels to league-leading and state-ranked Anthony Wayne Friday.
“Vegas is going to have them as the favorites,” said Strock. “But you talk about an opportunity to do something really special after a frustrating start to the season, and that is how we are looking at it.”
Maumee 0 0 0 0 — 0
Nap 14 21 7 7 — 49
First downs 8 18
Rushes/yards 24/7 47/341
Passes comp/att 12/22 2/3
Passing yards 116 54
Had intercepted 1 0
Fumbles/lost 1/1 0/0
Penalties/yards 3/34 1/15
Nap — Aldrich 21-yard run (Schumm kick)
Nap — Aldrich 43-yard run (Schumm kick)
Nap — Fields 4-yard run (Schumm kick)
Nap — Warncke 1-yard run (Schumm kick)
Nap — Warncke 6-yard pass to Aldrich (Schumm kick)
Nap — Gerdeman 16-yard run (Schumm kick)
Nap — Speaks 38-yard run (Schumm kick)