FULTON – On most teams, Brady Rude would be the workhorse. On the Newman Comets, he’s one of many thoroughbreds in the stable.
In Newman’s 55-14 Three Rivers North romp over Fulton on Friday, the sophomore fullback carried just nine times Friday night, but he piled up 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Rude’s TDs were 28 and 62 yards, and he also had a 35-yard gain. Though he averaged almost 17 yards per carry, Rude’s not bucking for more carries.
“It’s an opportunity to even be on the team as a sophomore,” he said. “I just take what they give me and make the most out of it.”
Halfback Jake Snow added 118 rushing yards on 13 carries and also scored two TDs.
“Having Brady is definitely helpful, because instead of having two backs that are dangerous, now we have that third one that’s just as fast as the two halfbacks,” Snow said.
Newman (4-1, 3-0) scored early and often. The Comets marched 58 yards for a score on their first possession, with Snow going the final 11 as Newman led 7-0 with 6:55 left in the opening quarter.
Fulton (1-4, 0-3) responded with an 80-yard TD drive highlighted by Ethan Jones’ passing. Jones had completions of 21 and 13 yards, and a pass interference call set up an 8-yard TD connection between Jones and Jason Osborn.
The Comets replied with an 80-yard scoring drive of their own. Rude’s 35-yard run and A.J. Sharp’s 24-yard pass to Shayne Allen set up Dillan Heffelfinger’s 7-yard TD run as Newman took a 14-7 lead with 11:54 left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Comets got a strip-six as they stood Osborn up before stripping the ball loose. Trevor Bolin returned it 21 yards for a touchdown and suddenly it was 21-7.
“We were waiting for a whistle on that, and there wasn’t a whistle,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said. “It was an unfortunate play for us. That took a lot of momentum out of the game.”
After a Fulton three-and-out, Newman made it 28-7 with a 74-yard drive. Sharp’s 22-yard completion to Bryce Ivey came two plays before Rude’s 28-yard TD with 7:45 left in the half.
Tristan Smith’s 18-yard run on a fake punt set up the Steamers’ other TD, which came on a 28-yard shovel pass to Devin Kuehl that made it 28-14 with 3:44 until halftime.
Newman tacked on two more TDs before intermission, as Rude provided his 62-yarder before Heffelfinger snared a pick-six interception return with 17 seconds left in the half to make it 41-14.
Snow added a 48-yard TD run and Mac Olson a 17-yard TD in the second half.
Jones, who has been nursing a bad ankle, left the game in the third quarter when he reaggravated the injury. Lower said he thought Jones would be OK.
Star of the game: Brady Rude, Newman, 150 rushing yards, 2 TDs
Key performers: Jake Snow, Newman, 118 rushing yards, 2 TDs; Dillan Heffelfinger, Newman, rushing TD, interception return TD; Ethan Jones, Fulton, 72 passing yards, 2 TDs
Up next: Fulton at Princeton; Riverdale at Newman, both 7:30 p.m. Friday