Bulldogs bowl over Immaculata in season opener, 34-6
It didn't take long for the McLouth Bulldogs to spit the taste of last year's 1-8 season out of their mouths.
The MHS football team dominated visiting Immaculata on Friday night at Stan Braksick Sports Complex, defeating the Raiders, 34-6.
"It's always important to start off with a win," coach Chris Stewart said after his first game at the MHS helm. "I was pretty happy with their effort and concentration on what we're trying to do."
Thanks to that exertion and focus, McLouth (1-0) outgained Immaculata, 339-162, in total yards.
Senior quarterback Derrick Crouse successfully led the MHS offense, going 4-for-11 through the air for 119 yards and two touchdowns - finding junior Cody Winborn for a 22-yard score and senior Jake Hullinger on a 42-yard connection. He also ran for a two-yard score, proving he could be a dual threat for McLouth this season.
"Derek did a great job of throwing the ball and hitting the open receivers," Stewart said of the QB, noting he has a good combination of size and athleticism.
The bulk of the damage done to the Raiders' defense was caused by the running game and came courtesy of the feet of senior running back Skyler Terry and receiver Hullinger. Terry had a 27-yard TD run and totaled 84 yards on 11 rushes. Hullinger carried 10 times for 72 yards.
"I think they all played well," Stewart said. "All the guys who touched the ball and our offensive line did too."
The first-year MHS coach said Hullinger was key to the team's success because Immaculata had to concentrate on the speedy senior getting the ball, but noted the same probably would have been true for Terry if McLouth had featured him more early on in the game. The Bulldogs' spread offense, which gives running opportunities to backs and receivers alike proved hard to defend.
"Skyler did a great job running the football. He had one called back that was a 40-yard touchdown," Stewart said, calling the penalty on that play the team's one big mistake.
Even though Terry had been out the last couple of years with an injury, Stewart said he has grown a lot and did well spotting running lanes against Immaculata.
The Bulldogs' other score came from junior Tyler Drinnon, who ran one in from 31 yards out.
"That was all effort on his part," Stewart said. "He got the ball and cut it back against the grain."
Stewart said his team was not surprised to come away with such a lopsided victory in its home opener.
"We all expected to play at a high level to begin with. That was our goal and I think we did that," he said.
Despite the big win, after the MHS staff reviewed game tape this weekend, Stewart said there are areas that need improvement.
Specifically, he said, MHS needs to improve on blocking assignments, which were troublesome at times against the Raiders.
McLouth will have a chance to double its win total from last season with a second victory on Friday at 7 p.m. at Jackson Heights, the lone opponent MHS defeated (21-20) last year. Stewart said his team's success will depend on its ability to stop the JHHS veer option offense.