This season has seen several new faces stepping up, and last Friday was no exception, as New Albany posted their first shutout of the season, 35-0 over Independence.
Riley Alef was a force on offense and defense, as the ‘Dawgs defense continues to improve with the course of the season.
Kareem Brown opened the scoring late in the first with his first of three touchdowns, this one a four yard run, giving New Albany the 7-0 lead after the first quarter.
Alef’s lone catch of the night came in the second, a 23-yard reception that set up Eric Johnson’s three-yard run to extend the ‘Dawgs lead.
Quarterback Tyler Basil ran in for the first of his two touchdowns with less than a minute remaining to give New Albany the 21-0 advantage at the half.
The Bulldogs chose to run the “Power I” throughout most of the first half given the weather and field conditions, and saw much success keeping the ball on the ground.
“We didn’t know what to expect when we came out tonight, so we did put the “Power I” in. Our kids came out and executed that perfectly the first three or four times we had the football. They kept coming to the sideline saying ‘coach, let’s go to our regular offense,’ and they felt comfortable with the field and thought we could do that,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said.
The ‘Dawgs would return to their normal offense, and it paid off early in the third, as Basil connected with Brown on a 25-yard pass making it 28-0. Brown would add on the final score in the fourth on a 33-yard run.
The junior tailback finished the night with 188 yards on 17 carries, along with two receptions for 36 yard and three touchdowns. Johnson finished with 89 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown, while Basil went 4-for-7 for 63 yards, eight yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“We were able to go back to our regular offense and had success with that as well, so our kids are confident that they can get the job done, and that makes you feel good as a coach that they’re wanting to do different things, and it was exciting tonight to dominate like we did,” Price said.
The story of the night was the big shutout by the defense, as they had their first shutout of the season. Alef had a strong performance with seven tackles and a fumble recovery.
“He was getting a lot of tackles for loss, sacks, and was hustling, and that’s the attitude of our football team exemplified in Riley. We want everyone playing like that, and I was very proud of him tonight. He probably feels like he’s not getting the playing time he needs, but he’s been patient and continues to work, giving us 100 percent in practice everyday, and tonight he had the game of his life. Hopefully that will prepare him for better games as we prepare and head into division play,” Price said of the sophomore.
Jullian Mitchell led the defense with nine tackles, seven for loss and two sacks, while Zach Hand with six tackles,Shawn Smith had five, Luke Floey with four tackles, two for loss and Kelvin Worship with three tackles, two for loss.
“We preached all week, and our kids really worked on pursuing the football. We didn’t do outstanding, like we wanted them to, but we did better, and we’re improving as a defensive unit,” Price said. “We’re working a lot of kids in and out and getting a lot of experience, building some depth, so I’m very proud of our defense. They’ve worked extremely hard to get a shutout, and I’m proud to see them accomplish that.”
New Albany will be on the road this week, as they will travel to M.S. Palmer.