CALEDONIA — The New Hope High School football team rode a balanced offensive attack Friday night to a 40-0 win against Caledonia.
New Hope quarterback Zak Thrasher completed 10 of 12 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, and the Trojans rushed for 237 yards to bounce back from their home loss to Columbus.
The Trojans (2-2) converted three fourth downs and didn”t punt in the game, while their defense held the Confederates (0-5) to 53 yards total offense.
Three players scored touchdowns as New Hope found the end zone on its first three drives.
Terrance Dentry led the Trojans with a pair of rushing touchdowns, the second on a 34-yard run on fourth-and-9 in the third quarter.
Dentry had 62 yards on six carries, while Franklin Richardson Jr. led the Trojans with 74 yards on three carries.
Eleven Trojans had touches, and five scored touchdowns.
“It wasn”t necessarily an emphasis, but we know we”ve got several guys who can make plays,” New Hope coach Michael Bradley said. “I”m proud of the way my guys took advantage of what they gave them and executed on offense.”
Caledonia had flashes on defense but couldn”t stop New Hope on third and fourth down, failing to regain possession on six third or fourth downs in the first half.
Caledonia first-year head coach Richard Kendrick lauded the effort of his team but admitted experience in the weight room and on the field gave New Hope the advantage.
“Our kids did what we asked them to and played hard,” Kendrick said. “I”m proud of how hard the kids fought, but some days you”re playing a better team. That was the case tonight. We spent a lot of our night trying to offset the size differential.”
Though the Confederates struggled to move the ball and fumbled five times, they had their chances in the first half. Caledonia moved the ball to its 46 and 43-yard line and had possession at the New Hope 45 after forcing and recovering a fumble.
“We get a glimpse of what we could do, but we”ve yet to be able to keep that mentality to keep that going,” Kendrick said. “That”s just growing pains. We had some positives, I thought, in our special teams play. Our kickoff returns were pretty good and we covered kicks well. That was good to see.”
New Hope”s early success came on the ground, as 15 of its first 18 offensive plays were runs. Thrasher found success in the air once the Confederates. whose defensive line opted to cut and to create piles, adjusted to stopping the run.
“They were playing mostly off, and, of course, the run works a whole lot better when the defense is playing almost close to prevent,” Thrasher said. “Once the run game started going, they started creeping up and we were able to throw a little bit. I think it was a pretty good performance.”
Penalties is one area Bradley will address when the Trojans return to practice Monday. They committed six penalties for 70 yards.
“It”s been a problem all year long,” Bradley said. “We”re not focusing. We work on it in practice, we call penalties when they commit them, and we coach them on what they”re doing wrong. We”ve got to do a better job and get those things worked out because we enter division play next week. It all starts counting next week.”
Caledonia will play host to Hamilton (2-3) next week, while New Hope will play host to Oxford (3-1).