Linton-HMB spoils Beach's home opener
BEACH - The setting couldn't have been more perfect for opening day at a new football stadium. A beautiful afternoon with the sun shining on fresh green grass and a just enough of a breeze to keep fans and football players from roasting on the aluminum bleachers.
Then reality hit when Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock marched 50 yards on six plays in its opening drive to score the first of six touchdowns in its 40-0 victory over Beach on Saturday at recently completed Buccaneer Stadium.
Linton-HMB racked up 422 total yards on the new turf, rushing for three touchdowns and throwing three more. The Lion-Tigers running backs carried for 226 yards.
"We hang our hat on our rushing game," Linton-HMB coach Dan Imdieke said.
Quarterback Justin Purintun opened up the scoring with a three-yard score on a keeper down the middle. Then, the sophomore hooked up with tight end Kirk Praus on an 11-yard touchdown pass into the right corner of the end zone on a fourth-and-10 less than three minutes into the second quarter.
Praus caught another touchdown pass, this time a 15-yarder from backup quarterback Danny Imdieke on Linton-HMB's opening drive in the third quarter. Praus snatched the ball away from Beach defensive back Ronnie Quick Bear, who appeared to have a clear shot at the interception.
"They don't lose too many games and that's for a reason," said first-year Beach coach Mike Zier.
Imdieke and Austin Olhauser hooked up on the day's longest play in the fourth quarter when the quarterback connected with the fullback on a screen pass that ended up going 91 yards for a touchdown. Olhauser also had a 34-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
"Our offensive line blocked awesome today," Olhauser said. "It was fun to run behind them. They all knew what they were doing."
The Buccaneers didn't only introduce their new field, they also showcased a new offense. Despite not scoring any points, the new shotgun spread formation worked well on occasion.
Beach sophomore quarterback Jake Tescher was 19 of 31 for 133 yards passing. He threw one interception and it was on a deep throw at the end of the first half.
The Buccaneers had opportunities to score in both the first and second halfs, but were plauged by penalties and red-zone miscues.
"When you play a team like Linton any kind of mistake, like a fumble or penalties, is going to hurt you and that was the case today," Zier said.
Beach committed seven penalties for 40 yards in the first half, most on offensive side of the ball, and failed to score on two red-zone drives in the second half.
"We should have scored, but when we get close to the goal line we want to throw it deep and get in there right away," Tescher said. "But that's not what we should do. Just hit short ones and do the little steps, not the big ones right away."
Tescher spread around the ball just as much as the Lion-Tigers did amongst their running backs. Beach's leading reciever was 5-foot-7 freshman Justin Maus, who hauled in five catches for 51 yards.
Imdieke was impressed with the Buccaneers' new look and doesn't think they'll have to wait too long to get into the end zone.
"They're got a nice looking outfit," he said. "They'll win some games this year. They're a threat."