By Tom Schultz
For the Herald
FULTON, Ill. —
A blowout win by Newman might not have been expected, but the Comets offense shredded the Steamers defense from the second quarter on for the 55-14 win road win. Newman improved to 3-0 in conference play and 4-1 overall while the Steamers fall to 1-4 (0-3 in conference).
“They’re a good team; we knew they were going to be tough,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said. “They are good up front, they’re very fundamentally sound, they don’t make a lot of mistakes and they capitalize on any mistake that you have.”
The first quarter looked promising for Fulton as both teams played strong and kept each other in check. The quarter ended ominously as Newman was set to start the second quarter on the Steamers' 8-yard line with second and goal after pushing their way 50 yards down the field.
Newman wasted no time scoring on the first play of the second quarter on a 7-yard carry from Dillan Heffelfinger. After the extra point the Comets had the seven-point lead, but Steamers' fans were still optimistic that their team could take control.
On the ensuing kickoff that looked to be the case when Fulton's Jason Osbourne started what looked to be a solid return before fumbling the bal. Newman's Trevor Bolin scooped the ball up and took it for a touchdown putting his team up 21-7 in just 19 seconds.
That put a bit of damper on the Steamers and their fans. Their hope drained further away as the second quarter wore on and the Newman built its lead to 28-7, 35-14, and 41-14 before halftime.
The final nail of the quarter came with 17 seconds left on the clock when Fulton was making a strong drive down the field looking to score. Heffelfinger picked off a pass from Ethan Jones and ran it back 55 yards for a touchdown.
“It’s frustrating, we knew we had our hands full with Newman and their offense and their physicality," Lower said. "There was a couple plays out there that had they gone a different way I think we could have stayed in the game a little longer than what we did.”
The Steamers were able to score a touchdown of their own in the second quarter on a well-executed play: Jones lined up in the shotgun formation with three receivers to his right and another to his left spreading out the defense. On the snap Devin Kuehl faked out his coverage taking two steps forward before looping back around and taking the shovel pass from Jones up the middle. Kuehl broke a few tackles and 27 yards later pounded the ball into the end zone.
This was the last bright spot for the Steamers on the night.
Fulton only gave up 14 points in the second half, but Newman was still running all over the defense and didn’t attempt a pass the entire half.
The Steamers took another hard blow in the third quarter when Jones re-aggravated his ankle.
“Its sore right now,” Jones said. “It was a clean hit. (I) just got rolled up under him and I wasn’t 100 percent going into the game.”
Three weeks earlier he had twisted it in the loss to Kewanee, sat out the loss to Morrison and returned in last week’s loss to Erie/Prophetstown. Friday against Newman he was at about 85 percent until he was wrapped up on a tackle around the ankle that got him in the complete wrong spot. Jones was forced out of the game.
Fulton looks ahead now to next Friday’s game on the road against the Princeton Tigers. Newman will host the struggling Riverdale Rams next week.
STERLING NEWMAN 55, FULTON 14
Newman 7 35 7 7 -- 55
Fulton 7 7 0 0 -- 14
(N) – Snow 11-yard run (Heffelfinger kick) 6:55
(F) – Osbourne 8-yard pass (Lemke kick) 2:07
(N) – Hefflefinger 7-yard run (Heffelfinger kick) 11:54
(N) – Bolin 18-yard fumble recovery (Heffelfinger kick) 11:41
(N) – Rude 28-yard run (Heffelfinger kick) 7:45
(F) – Kuehl 27-yard run (Lemke kick) 3:44
(N) – Rude 62-yard run (Heffelfinger kick) 1:25
(N) – Hefflefinger 55-yard interception return (Heffelfinger kick) 0:17
(N) – Snow 47-yard run (Heffelfinger kick) 9:03
(N) – Olsen 17-yard run (Roleder kick) 5:18
RUSHING: Newman (53-411) – Rude 8-142, Snow 14-120, Heffelfinger 13-58, Ely 5-18, Terveer 1-2, Todhunter 2-5, Nieswander 2-7, Jensen 4-36, Olson 4-23; Fulton (39-128) – Regenwether 17-60, Kuehl 8-29, Lemke 6-6, Jones 6-9, Smith 1-5, North 1-19.
PASSING: Newman – Sharp 3-3-0-63; Fulton – Jones 6-10-1-50.
RECEIVING: Newman – Hefflefinger 1-17, Allen 1-24, Ivey 1-22; Fulton – Osbourne 5-52, Regenwether 1-(-2).