NEW HAVEN – For one side, a lot has changed in a year. For the other, the struggles continue.
New faces helped New Haven 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 the one-year anniversary of the crash that resulted in the deaths of DeKalb players Derek Padilla and Lucas Oberkiser.
Both players are still listed on the DeKalb roster, both as seniors, and their jerseys were 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 the first of his four interceptions on the third play of the first drive.
New Haven scored three plays later, 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 passes for 160 yards and a score with one interception. Tim Jordan completed 2 of 4 passes for 30 yard and a 22-yard touchdown.
Stephen Owens ran for 194 yards on 22 carries and scored touchdowns of 1 yard, 63 yards and 13 yards. 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.