BLAIRSBURG - Completing passes is so overrated, so says the Northeast Hamilton football team.
Why air it out when running roughshod is so satisfying?
The Trojans attempted just two passes and completed the big goose egg Friday night, but 348 yards rushing were more than enough to carry them to a 64-14 blistering of CAL in the season opener for both teams.
Not bad for a team that didn't scrimmage a lick during the preseason due to the low number of players on the roster.
"We knew we were going to have some trouble at first because we hadn't had any live contact yet, but we were hoping as the game went on we would improve and that definitely happened," NEH head coach John Seiser said. "We were pleasantly surprised how a lot of guys stepped up and did some really nice things."
A 30-point spurt over a span of 7 minutes, 25 seconds in the first and second quarters turned a 6-6 tie into a runaway. It became a blowout thanks to a 28-0 NEH run over the final 25:30 of regulation.
CAL 6 8 0 0-14
Northeast Hamilton12 38 8 6-64
NEH - Hunter Dilley 70 kickoff return (run failed), 11:51.
CAL - Juan Gomez 7 pass from Kainen Braun (kick failed), 5:55.
NEH - Nick Jeffers 13 run (pass failed), 2:36.
NEH - Andy Pate 10 run (Pate run), 11:02.
NEH - Austin Smith 3 run (Pate run), 9:45.
NEH - Pate 21 run (Jeffers run), 7:11.
CAL - Braun 2 run (Austin Guerrero pass from Braun), 4:03.
NEH - Jeffers 6 run (Jeffers run), 1:30.
NEH - Kyler Rapp 32 run (run failed), 0:32.
NEH - Pate 5 run (Rapp run), 4:09.
NEH - Pate 18 run (run failed), 0:01.
Rushing - CAL: Austin Guerrero 8-37, Kainen Braun 20-27, Miguel Calles 5-8. NEH: Nick Jeffers 18-168, Andy Pate 17-131, Kyler Rapp 2-46, Austin Smith 1-3.
Passing - CAL: Braun 6-14-1 44. NEH: Pate 0-2-0 0.
Receiving - CAL: Zach Vaness 1-21, Juan Gomez 2-15, Guerrero 2-6, Braun 1-2.
Tackles - NEH: Jeffers 7, Pate 5 1/2, Smith 5 1/2, Jonathon Eggleston 5 1/2, Rapp 4, Zach Hassebrock 3, Bryce Van Langen 3, Kyle Pruismann 2 1/2, Truman Chamness 1, Hunter Dilley 1/2.
It was the 55th consecutive loss for CAL, which last celebrated a victory during Week 9 of the 2007 season. The Cadets continue to be in danger of reaching Waterloo West's dubious state-record skid of 62 games from 1996-2002.
NEH led 50-14 at the half and five different players - all seniors - scored touchdowns on the night.
Running back Nick Jeffers broke one long run after another to the tune of 168 ground yards on just 18 carries and he scored a pair of touchdowns. His backfield mate Andy Pate provided the power with 131 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 17 totes. Kyler Rapp and Austin Smith both added one TD scamper, Rapp's a 32-yard sprint in the final minute of the second quarter.
"Andy Pate and Nick Jeffers, neither one had carried the ball in two years, but they looked good," Seiser said. "Our goal this year is to not be one-back dominant, so we'll line up in all kinds of different formations. We don't really have a true passer either, so we've got to be creative."
NEH averaged 9.16 yards per carry against the overwhelmed CAL defense.
CAL managed just 116 yards of total offense; quarterback Kainen Braun completed 6 of 14 passes for 44 yards and also ran for 27 yards on 20 attempts.
Hunter Dilley intercepted a pass and Pate recovered a fumble in the rout.
Dilley unleashed the fireworks just nine seconds into the game with a 70-yard kickoff return to the house.
NEH will host Colo-NESCO this Friday at 7 p.m.