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The Journal Gazette

Friday, September 01, 2017 11:10 pm

New Haven rolls over struggling DeKalb

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

NEW HAVEN – For one side, a lot has changed in a year. For the other, the struggles continue.

New faces helped the New Haven football team shut out DeKalb 41-0 in the Northeast Eight opener at John Young Stadium, a game that wasn't played last year.

"Our expectations are high," Bulldogs coach Jim Rowland said. "We're trying to be realistic in that we've lost a lot of kids that started for two or three years and we have a lot of new faces and mistakes are going to come with that. We're trying to be patient but keeping our expectations high.

"It's always good to start off conference play with a good victory and shut out a solid DeKalb team. There are a lot of things that we have to get better at and that's what we're going to focus on."

For the Barons, today marks one year since the accident that resulted in the deaths of Derek Padilla and Lucas Oberkiser.

Both names are still listed on the DeKalb roster, both as seniors, and their jerseys are carried with the captains during the coin toss.

"Obviously it's a thorough disappointment in our performance," Barons coach Pete Kempf said. "We didn't want to play football tonight which was disappointing. We had a great opportunity tonight to do something special, we had a great reason to play tonight and we didn't have any extra.

"In any person's life, in this lifetime, there will be tragedy. There will be hardship. That's the nature of the existence that we live. What defines you as a person, what defines you as part of a team, what defines your life is how you can respond to those adverse situations.

"We had an amazing summer, fast and fun, and when it got to the season, it got a little gloomy. We have to choose as a program to take the right steps forward."

The on-field woes began early for DeKalb as Peyton Stout threw his first of four interceptions on the third play of the first drive.

The resulting drive for the Bulldogs ended with a three-play scoring drive capped by a 58-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Sexton to Zel Banks.

"We had four interceptions, that's always good when you can turn the ball over on defense," Rowland said.

Sexton completed 10 of 15 passing attempts for 160 yards and a score with one interception. Tim Jordan completed two of four passes for 30 yard and a 22-yard touchdown.

Stephen Owens ran for 194 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns with 1-yard, 63-yard and 13-yard runs, while James Gardner ran once for a 49-yard score.

"I felt like we ran the ball successfully today," Sexton said. "I felt like it was more of a running game today because of the front line the way it was."

Note: Before the game, New Haven held a moment of silence for former athletic director Bill Kerbel who died Aug. 25.

areichel@jg.net