|Napoleon’s Tyler Pitrowski blazes the corner Thursday.|
By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
The Napoleon High School football team on Thursday found the bounce in its step that has been missing the past three years.
And the Pirates didn’t let go of it.
Napoleon piled up 306 yards on the ground, while holding a young Vandercook Lake squad to minus-5 yards rushing in a 42-6 thrashing of a team that had beaten them three times straight.
Napoleon improved to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the Cascades Conference. The Jayhawks dropped to 0-2 and 0-1 in the league.
“Our offensive linemen are more experienced than we’ve had over the past couple of years so that helped us out and I know (The Jayhawks are) inexperienced, too,” Napoleon coach Don Baxter said.
“It will build a lot of confidence for some of our kids … and as you see, they are over their singing the fight song already. It feels great.”
The shiftiness of Leland Weatherspoon (102 yards rushing on nine carries, three touchdowns), the outside quickness of Jacob Graham (75 yards on four carries) and the power of Trent Stapley (49 yards on eight carries) kept the Jayhawks off balance from the start.
Nick Lowe started the contest with a 7-yd touchdown run just 2:23 in and Hayden Witte found Jameson Vinson on an 8-yard score six minutes later.
A pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the second quarter, from Stapley and Weatherspoon, put the Pirates up 28-0. Last season it took them four games to score that many points.
“We switched to a different defense this year, and we’re still going through the growing pains right now,” Vandercook Lake coach Matt Markwart said. “We’re still learning how to make this defense work right, and again, we’re very inexperienced.”
Witte took advantage of that inexperience as well, with several timely pump fakes and well-executed play-action passes. He finished 4-of-6 for 71 yards and a score.
The Jayhawks were relying on sophomore Tyler Canty who converted from running back to signal-caller over the summer.
He was hounded by heavy pressure much of the night but also made some good reads as he picked up on the Pirates’ schemes.
He went 9-of-24 for 148 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Javon Flowers, who had three catches for 77 yards.