NEW PARIS — Quarterback Joby Williams, and the Arrows’ defense led Preble Shawnee to a blow out of National Trail in the first game of the season on Friday, Aug 28 at National Trail.
Shawnee won 55-6.
Williams completed 77 percent of his passes on his way to 178 yards and three touchdowns through the air, as the Shawnee defense prevented the Blazers from getting a first down until the fourth quarter.
Shawnee head coach Matt Hopkins talked about his defense after the game.
“I challenged those guys not to give up a first down,” he said. “I think they took that challenge and they ran with it. Luke Lovely stepped up really big, he was a guy who led by his play at middle linebacker — he was flying around and he refused to be blocked, and he made a ton of tackles in the backfield because he took that challenge to heart.”
For new National Trail coach Randy Kerns, the game could not have started worse. Shawnee got the ball first and scored quickly as Williams found Kevin Ketring for an 18-yard touchdown pass and seven point lead.
Kerns then saw his team fumble the ensuing kick-off to hand the ball back to Shawnee who was already in scoring position. This time Williams found Trey Smith from 31 yards out and the Arrows led 14-0 less than three minutes into the season.
Trail was unable to respond, as they had their first three-and-out of many on the night and Shawnee was back on the attack.
Using a hurry-up offense and multiple quick reads by Williams, Shawnee marched down the field again and a Tom Buell touchdown reception gave them a 21-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
A 21-point lead was plenty for a dominating Arrow defense which was flying to the ball all night. Gunner Edwards and Lovely led the Arrows in tackles as Edwards picked up a total of nine on the evening. Lovely racked up eight as the two led a smothering defense to a first half shut-out.
Shawnee added three more touchdowns in the second quarter, with Williams picking up a rushing touchdown to bring his total to four. Nyles Anderson picked up two of his own for a 42-0 halftime lead.
To help ease the pain of a long night, National Trail was able to sneak one into the end zone when Micheal Bane found Kaleb Deardoff from 14 yards out in the second half — but it was only a consolation prize as the Arrows added two more scores for a final of 55-6.
Hopkins said coming into the season leadership was his number one concern, and he thought his team took a step in the right direction.
“We had some guys who stepped up really nicely and were not only vocal leaders but led by example on the field and I think that is a big reason why the score came out the way it did,” he said.
Hopkins also felt his team’s experience, especially that of Williams who enters is fourth year as a starter, was a key to a big opening night.
“He’s got to the point now that he knows exactly where he’s going pretty much as soon as we get lined up, which is exciting because that is exactly how we want him to be,” Hopkins said of the quarterback.
Trey Smith lead the Arrows in receiving yards, with 123 yards on seven catches, a touchdown and a diving catch in the first half. Eli Gibson led the Arrows on the ground behind a strong offensive line, with 137 yards on 14 attempts. Anderson finished with three rushing touchdowns.
On Friday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m.,Preble Shawnee (1-0) hosts county rival Twin Valley South (1-0) who is coming off a 43-point, shutout victory over Dixie.
National Trail (0-1) will host Miami East (0-1) on Friday, Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.