The Bulldogs had no problems improving to 5-0, though the game started off positive for Independence.
The Wildcats opening drive was their most productive of the evening, ending in a touchdown by Tavion Newsom.
Staying poised, the Bulldogs reeled off 56 unanswered points, leading to the 56-6 win, and the defense responded with another big performance.
“I don’t know what our problem was on the first drive, but our defense proved once again that they’re an outstanding unit,” NAHS head coach Ron Price said. “They gave up a touchdown at the beginning, which was a little disappointing, but once they realized the game had started, they started playing and came out with another outstanding performance tonight.”
“Our coach told the defensive line to get more pressure on the quarterback, and we talked to the defensive backs a little more about giving us more time to get pressure on the quarterback, and once we were able to get that pressure, we started dominating our positions,” senior defensive end Shawn Smith added.
New Albany’s first score came on a 54-yard pass from Tyler Basil to Luke Foley. Basil extended the lead to 14-6 in the first quarter with his keeper, and the senior threw two more touchdowns to Taylor Goode and Joshua Googe while Kelvin Worship rushed for his first of two scores, and the Bulldogs led 35-6 at the half.
“We challenged our kids all week to execute and to do a better job of not making stupid penalties and making mistakes when we make big plays,” Price said of the offensive unit. “When we get into division play, it’s going to be crucial that when we have the opportunity to score, that we take advantage of it. I think we did a much better job of that tonight.”
Basil threw for one more touchdown in the third and finished 6-for-11, 170 yards and four touchdowns. Worship had 56 yards rushing on 11 carries with two scores, and Boston Newsome found the end zone for the first time this season, finishing with 10 yards.
The defense had a lot of help, as senior kicker Sam Jackson Dunnam pinned the Wildcats deep in their territory with four kickoffs going into the end zone, as well as going eight-for-eight on extra points.
“The best weapon you can have as a kickoff team is to have a guy that can put it in the end zone,” Price said. “Sam has come out and been a great player for us. He’s been consistent on his extra points and he’s done an excellent job on kickoffs. He’s a great kid, and any time he can do something to help the football team, he’s excited to get out there and do it.”
Riley Alef led the defense with nine tackles, followed by Zach Hand and Josh Creekmore, each with six. Creekmore also had an interception and fumble recovery.
Next for the Bulldogs is a homecoming match-up with M.S. Palmer this Friday night.