It has to get easier for Fulton High School.

One week after a season-opening loss to Morrison, the top-ranked team in Class 2A, the Steamers were beat 44-0 on Friday by Sterling Newman, the 2010 2A state champion that is ranked second in 3A this fall.

“We’ve seen the two best teams in our conference,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said on his postgame radio show. “We have more of a chance against the rest of the conference. After these first two games, we know what it takes physically to play in this conference.

“We’ve got a good group of kids who will work hard.”

Newman was its own worst enemy at the start. The Comets started their first two drives in Fulton territory and ripped off big chunks of yardage on almost every play. But each drive ended when they fumbled the ball inside the 10 and the Steamers recovered.

“For the most part, I think we came out with a certain level of intensity on defense,” Lower said. “Newman played a little sloppy, but I’d like to think we had something to do with that. The only thing was we couldn’t convert.”

Newman finally scored on its third possession after once again getting great field position.

Fulton’s Matt Hartman ran the ball out of punt formation on fourth down, but was tackled for a 9-yard loss, giving Newman first-and-goal from the 6-yard line.

Two Tim Wilson runs later and the Comets broke open the scoreless tie with a touchdown.

Panthers record win

ERIE, Ill. — Junior Zach Inskeep rushed for 148 yards and scored twice in the first quarter to lead Erie/Prophetstown to a 20-7 win against visiting Ottawa Marquette on Friday in Big Rivers Conference football.

The win evened the Panthers’ record at 1-1 overall and in the conference.

Inskeep scored on runs of 4 and 40 yards in the opening period.

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