Doggone Canes top Hampton
For the Hurricanes home opener they unveiled their new red jerseys, and like the teams of the past that spawned the name "Red" Hurricanes, the 2002 version of the New Castle eleven played the part and looked like a "Red" Hurricane at Taggart Stadium tonight.
This weeks opponent, the highly ranked Hampton Talbots (is that a dog or a womens clothing store?) were over matched in both speed and power. The Canes controlled the game from the outset and won easily 32-6.
Last weeks quick strikes and defensive scores left some wondering if the Canes could sustain drives well enough to beat good opponents. Tonight New Castle did both, scoring on a couple long drives and a quick strike and threw in a defensive score just for good measure.
However even at that, the passing game needs to improve to take some heat off of the running game, as Ross Crist was under heavy pressure much of the time when he dropped back to pass.
After Leon Ward took the opening kick-off from the two to the 32 the Canes went right to the air on the first play, with Crist hitting Cameron Reid for 21 yards moving the Canes into Talbots territory at the 45. Three running plays netted New Castle minus 10 yards forcing a punt.
Allan Billyks punt went out of bounds at the Hampton 16.
The Talbots managed one first down on this possession before punting back to the Canes.
New Castle started this drive at their own 34 at the 7:15 mark of the first period. Five yards by Robert Calhoun started things off. Then six yards by Zach Mariacher put the Canes at their own 45. Carries of five, eight, and two by Calhoun moved the ball into Talbots territory at the 42. Crist then hit Billyk for 12 yards down to the Hampton 28.
Crist carried for five on first down, then Calhoun went for three setting up a third and two at the 20. Crist then pulled some trickery as he changed his cadence and drew Hampton off-sides giving New Castle a first down at the 15. Calhoun carried twice getting the ball to the one, then Crist followed the pile up the middle and went in for the score. Joey Harveys PAT attempt never got up and the Canes led 6-0 with just 1:49 left in the first quarter.
Hampton went three and out on their next possession, but a long punt put the Hurricanes back at their own 16 to start this possession.
A 14-yard run by Mariacher gave the Canes a first down but a dropped pass by Billyk on third and four forced a Hurricanes punt.
Noah Elliot punted this time and backed the Talbots up to their own 22.
After giving up one first down New Castles defense stiffened and Hampton faced fourth and eight at their 44. A Cane defender bumped the kicker drawing a flag but the five yard penalty was not enough for a Talbots first-down and the Canes took over at their own 24.
Calhoun ran for three yards followed by a incomplete pass by Crist, who had been lined up in the shotgun for the first time. Crist then running for his life on the next play found an opening down the right side and ran 12 yards for a first down. New Castle now had a first-down at their own 39. This time on the option play Crist gave the ball to number 39 fullback Elliot, who squirted through the middle, cut to the left and blazed 54 yards to the Hampton seven. After an exchange of penalties, Mariacher scored from nine yards out putting the Canes ahead 12-0 at 6:11. New Castle went for two but failed.
The ensuing kickoff led to a repeat of a play from last week. The Hampton returner broke free of 10 Canes players on the kickoff team only to find himself facing Mariacher in the open field. Just like last week Mariacher put a lick on the runner taking him down, this week however, no fumble.
The Talbots ran just three plays and were punting from their 47. This play led to controversy as the punter never got the ball up and it flew into the line. In the process it hit a Hurricanes player and Hampton recovered what was ruled a fumble by the referees at their own 49.
However, the Canes answered right back on the next play as Steven Threats intercepted a Talbots pass and the Hurricanes took over on their own 41 with 4:00 left in the half.
After an incomplete pass and it was back to the secret weapon as Elliot again rumbled up the middle, this time for 17 yards and a first down. Then it was Mariacher for six, then Calhoun for six, then Mariacher for 10, then Calhoun for two down to the eighteen.
Crist then dropped back to pass and flicked the ball toward the right side of the endzone. The ball squeezed through the hands of a defender at the five and a falling down Mariacher grabbed the ball for a completion at the two. On the next play Calhoun powered in for the score. The two-point attempt again failed and the Canes lead was 18-0 with just 58 seconds left in the half.
At the half New Castle led 18-0.
Another deep kickoff by David Colella gave the Talbots poor field position to start the second half and after just four plays, the Canes even helped by lining up offside once, Hampton again had to punt.
This time the Canes went three and out and were forced to punt on fourth and 18.
Hamptons first play of the drive again went awry as Mariacher grabbed a tipped pass for an interception.
New Castle ran eight plays but gave it back to the Talbots on downs after failing on a fourth and five on their own 24.
But yet again Hamptons first play of a drive went bad. This time Cameron Reid (#32) picked off a pass and ran 32 yards for a touchdown. This time the PAT by Harvey was good and the Hurricanes lead 25-0 with 5:00 to play in the third.
The ensuing kickoff was returned to the 31 by Hampton but they moved backwards on two straight plays, highlighted by a lightning quick sack by Calhoun who came untouched off the corner causing an 11 yard loss. On their next play Hampton threw another interception to Reid giving the ball back to the Canes at the Talbots 48 with 3:24 left in the third.
New Castle moved to the 25 led by the running of Calhoun and Mariacher. Then after a penalty and a two yard run by Mariacher and facing a third and 13 on the first play of the fourth quarter, Crist rolled to his right and was hotly pursued by Talbots. He waited until Ward cleared and threw the ball toward the front right corner of the endzone. Ward laid out for the ball catching it for the touchdown just inside the piling. Again Harveys PAT was good and the Red Hurricanes led 32-0.
Neither team moved the ball much in the fourth period as reserves started entering the field. New Castle did give Hampton their only opportunity to score as on fourth and eight at their own 29, a low snap was mishandled by Elliot and the Talbots took over at the 20. Three plays later they ran wide around left end and got on the scoreboard. The attempt for two points failed leaving the final score 32-6.
Robert Calhoun led the Canes in rushing with 76 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, while Zach Mariacher had 67 on 11 carries and a score and Noah Elliot had 71 yards on just two carries.
Ross Crist was 4 of 10 for 77 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions. Leon Ward on a 28-yard reception and Carmeron Reid on a 32 yard interception return scored the other Hurricanes touchdowns.