It was all Patriots on Friday, as the Upton-Sundance squad dispensed with the Lusk Tigers in the inaugural game under the lights at the new Sundance athletic complex.
The field may have been new, but the storyline for the 3-0 Patriots followed what has become a comfortable script. Thanks to a stout running game, which tallied up 281 total yards and a potent defense that shut down the visiting Tigers, the Patriots rolled to a 48-8 by the time the final horn sounded.
A short kickoff by Lusk caught the Patriots by surprise and allowed the Tigers to fall on the ball, giving them the first possession of the game. The Patriot defense took care of business though and held Lusk through their first three plays. The Tigers went for it on fourth down but fell short after the Patriots forced and recovered a fumble.
On the ensuing possession, Upton’s senior quarterback, Clayton Louderback, threw to his sophomore receiver, Jayden Caylor, who ran 36 yards and set up the Pats inside the redzone. Louderback finished the drive with two-yard dive into the endzone midway through the first quarter.
Another defensive stand forced the Tigers to give the possession over to the Patriots after failing to convert on another fourth down attempt. The Patriots wasted little time driving downfield a second time as Louderback and senior running back Dawson Butts combined to move inside the ten yardline. Junior rusher, Tanner Hofland, finished off the drive by rumbling in from nine yards out to put the Pats up by two scores with 1:43 left in the first.
Butts got the call again in the second quarter and, in two plays, took the ball 76 yards for another touchdown. With a third extra point from SHS junior kicker, Jerett Schloredt, the Patriots stretched their lead to 21-0 with 9:02 before halftime.
Not quite three minutes later, Louderback and Caylor connected again, this time for a 68-yard reception and another Patriots score at the 6:15 mark.
With just over three minutes before halftime, things went from bad to worse for the Tigers as they fumbled a pitch near midfield and Caylor jumped on the loose ball. The Pats pushed ahead once again and finished the drive with a 21-yard Louderback to Butts pass which put the Pats up 35-0 at the half.
Louderback kept his foot on the gas as the Pats came back out after the break and scampered in from 15 yards out to add six more to the score. Schloredt missed his first extra point kick of the season but the Pats were up 41-0 with 7:23 on the clock in the third.
Lusk finally managed to put together a drive late in the quarter and dived in from three yards out to find the endzone for the first time. They managed a two-point conversion and cut the lead to 41-8 going into the fourth.
The Patriots responded with one more score in the fourth. Caylor’s number was called once again and he got his second touchdown on the evening, this time on the ground with a rush from five yards out. Schloredt nailed the extra point and the Patriots wrapped up their first game at Croell Field with 48-8 blowout.
Butts led the rushing stats with 12 carries for 134 yds. Hofland finished with 6 for 89, Louderback was 6-40 and Caylor went 4-18.
Louderback threw for 143 yards on four completions in 11 attempts. Caylor hauled in two for 104 yards and Butts had a pair for 39.
On the other side of the ball, Upton senior Alan Baker tallied an interception, a fumble recovery and 16 tackles. Caylor notched a fumble recovery and 17 tackles. Hofland had 14 tackles; Upton junior Isaac Bishop had a dozen tackles.
Upton junior Dillon Barritt had one interception, a pass breakup and six tackles. Upton senior Payton Watt had six tackles including two for losses.
Schloredt had ten tackles including one for a loss. Butts finished the night with seven tackles including two for a loss and one pass breakup. Sundance sophomore Josiah Rudloff finished the night with nine tackles and a pass batted down.
The Patriots are back in Upton against Wright this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The 1-2 Panthers come into the game fresh from a one-point loss to Southeast last week.