STERLING – Newman did what it does best on Saturday night – play a frustrating game of keepaway.
The Comets churned out 311 yards on the ground, 234 of which came in the second half, on its way to a 34-6 victory against Bureau Valley at Sterling Chevrolet Field at Roscoe Eades Stadium. It was the Three Rivers North opener for both squads.
Newman (2-1) led 20-6 at halftime, then ran 37 time-consuming plays in the second half, all but two of them on the ground. Jake Snow and Dillan Heffelffinger were the second-half workhorses, as each got 10 carries and gained 79 and 63 yards, respectively.
"That's how we've always played – running the ball, long, slow drives – it wears the defense down after a while," Snow said. "They were doing well in the beginning, but after we started getting 5, 6 yards a play, they started wearing down and losing confidence. That's when we were able to kick it in."
Bureau Valley (1-2), meanwhile, ran just four plays on its first two second-half possessions before being forced to punt the ball away. The Storm's lone drive of any substance came to a crashing halt in the form of a 15-yard sack of BV quarterback Parker Neuhalfen by Brady Rude.
"You have to use your offense to be your best defense [against Newman]," BV coach Jeff Ohlson said. "We didn't execute and make plays on offense, and since we didn't do that, they were able to wear us down, and they popped some plays at the end."
Bureau Valley's Tommy Johnston fumbled on the first play of the game, and while Newman didn't score on the ensuing possession, the Comets did push across touchdowns on their next two drives to seize a 12-0 lead. Snow did the honors on both, on a 5-yard run and 7-yard pass from A.J. Sharp.
Bureau Valley's lone score was a 1-yard plunge by Josh Mead early in the second quarter. The Storm defense then forced a 3-and-out, and the BV offense got as far as the Comets' 18 before the drive stalled.
Newman then produced a 12-play, 74-yard march capped by a 1-yard dive from Heffelfinger to put the Comets up 20-6 at halftime, setting the stage for a second half of dominance.
"That was a talented team we played today," Newman coach Mike Papoccia said, "and to hold them to one score is unbelievable. I was worried sick coming into this game because of their quarterback, and their wideouts who also run the ball. They've got a lot of speed there, but thank God we do too. I thought our speed played well in defending them."
Star of the game: Jake Snow (N) 16 carries, 103 yards, 3 TDs (1 receiving)
Key performers: A.J. Sharp (N), 7-for-9, 138 yards, TD. Parker Neuhalfen (BV), 164 yards passing
Up next: Bureau Valley at Kewanee; Morrison at Newman, 7:30 Friday