By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Neither rain nor lightning nor Hornets could keep the Montcalm Generals from the swift completion of their first football game of 2013, a 48-0 win over Hundred High School on Saturday afternoon at Prudich Stadium.
A thunderstorm settled in at the end of the first half and delayed the resumption of the game with Montcalm ahead 42-0.
The Hundred Hornets, having traveled 4 1/2 hours to get to the game from northern West Virginia, did not want to leave with the game unfinished. The teams waited out the lightning delays, and the officials finally cut the second half to a pair of 4-minute periods.
The 32 minutes of game action were enough for Montcalm’s Ryan Absher to score on two long punt returns and one 73-yard kickoff return, and wind up with 235 all-purpose yards.
Absher, a senior, said, “Everyone wanted to start the season off on a good note, and win our games. (My teammates) blocked on every play, every time I scored a touchdown or even ran the ball. They blocked great.”
The Generals defense held the Hornets to 22 yards from scrimmage and four first downs.
Montcalm head coach Jimmy Redmond said, “I was really pleased with the effort, especially on the defense. It seemed like the defense was really getting to the ball today.”
Senior defensive lineman Travis Pointer said, “We’d been waiting on (the start of the season) for three weeks. ... We were planning on stopping the ball wherever it was, and getting turnovers.”
“Like Coach told us, we wanted to go two steps forward and none backwards. And we showed them.”
Hundred’s first three drives lasted four plays each. Montcalm’s first possession lasted slightly more than a minute, ending with an 8-yard touchdown catch by Travis Duncan on Dakota Lanter’s only pass of the contest.
Lanter, a senior stepping in this year at quarterback, said, “The first play, I was feeling kind of skittish, but after that ball touched my hand, I was ready to go.”
Calling his mechanics at quarterback “a work in progress,” Lanter said his ability to pass “is getting better. My spirals are getting tighter, I’m throwing it farther, more on target. I’m hoping the coach starts letting us throw the ball more.”
Then there’s the task of lining up his offensive formations.
“It’s easy with first string, they know where to go, every play,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of first-year, second-string players, and they just get confused. [As quarterback] you’ve got to know every play, you’ve got to know every formation, where everybody goes.”
Absher gave Montcalm a 13-0 lead with a determined 67-yard scamper on a punt return. He would run another back 60 yards for the final touchdown of the first half.
He opened the rain-delayed second period with his 73-yard dash up the right sideline to end the scoring for the day.
Redmond said about Absher, “He looked like he had good vision. He’s got pretty good speed. He just took off, and saw the right place to go.”
Also in the first half, Lanter ran to the end zone from 5 yards out after rolling to his right and darting past a couple of Hornets. Fellow senior Jon Casto snagged the only interception of the day and ran it 31 yards for a score.
Senior Jason Grose, whose play on offense was limited to the second quarter, led all rushers from scrimmage with 47 yards on four carries, including a 4-yard touchdown run up the middle. Lanter added a two-point conversion after that play off a fake kick.
“That was fun,” Lanter said. “I just like to score, that’s just it.”
Redmond said about the seniors on the team, “These guys are pretty excited about this year.”
Hundred quarterback Brandon Armstrong was 4 for 9 passing for 25 yards but left the game with a possible slight concussion, said coach Rex Rush. Brandon White ran 10 times for 11 yards. Each team had eight runners get carries.
Rush said, “We had a few kids get hurt today. We need to work on these younger guys, getting them in and getting them some reps. We started, like, four new players here today. They’d never seen a game of football before this. It was a learning experience for them.”
“We just wanted to get the game in so we didn’t have to come back down here, because we’ve got a 4 1/2-hour drive. It’s not a bad drive, but we’ve got the other games in the season. It’d be hard to make this one up.”
Redmond said, “You can’t beat the weather; you’ve just got to go with it.”
In the final series, the only girl on the Montcalm squad, Renee Shrader, reported in at defensive tackle. On her first play, she tackled the Hundred quarterback on a dive play for no gain.
The final tackle belonged to Trevor Poynter, Travis’ younger brother. He said, “As a freshman, it felt amazing. ... This is my first year (on varsity), and it’s a really good team to play for. They all have sportsmanship.”
Redmond said, “It’s always good for a little taste of success to start out. We work all summer and it’s a good feeling, that first game, to taste success, and hopefully we’ll continue.”
Only minutes after the final whistle, he was focusing on game two, against the Twin Valley Panthers on Friday night, which will be Montcalm’s homecoming game.
“Now we’re thinking Twin Valley,” Redmond said. “They’re a good ball team, and they’re going to play us hard, too, so I hope we come with the same intensity next week.”
Rush said, “We’ve got to go back and regroup and keep plugging away.”
— Contact Tom Bone at email@example.com
At Prudich Stadium
Hundred..............................0 0 0 0 — 0
Montcalm..........................27 15 6 0 — 48
MHS – Travis Duncan 8 pass from Dakota Lanter (Duncan kick), 9:04
MHS – Ryan Absher 67 punt return (kick blocked), 7:50
MHS – Lanter 5 run (Duncan kick), 4:10
MHS – Jon Casto 31 interception return (Duncan kick), 2:23
MHS – Jason Grose 4 run (Lanter run), 8:10
MHS – Absher 60 punt return (Duncan kick), 2:47
MHS – Absher 73 kickoff return (kick failed), 3:48
RUSHING — Hun, Brandon White 10-11, Andrew King 1-(–5), Earl Villers 1-(–3), Courtland Armstrong 6-0, Brandon Armstrong 2-(–3), Logan Kuhn 2-0, Steve Morris 6-4, Davin Copeland 2-(–7). Mont, Brady Brown 2-11, Ryan Absher 2-35, Travis Duncan 4-25, Colton Egnor 5-18, Dakota Lanter 2-33, Jason Grose 4-47, Trevor Poynter 1-1, Team 1-(–1).
PASSING — Hun, Brandon Armstrong 4-9-25 yds.-0 TD-1 intc. Mont, Lanter 1-1-8-1-0.
RECEIVING — Hun, Courtland Armstrong 2-11, Kuhn 1-12, White 1-2. Mont, Duncan 1-8.
First downs 4 5
Rushes-yards 30-(–3) 21-169
Passing yards 25 8
Comp-Att-Intc 4-9-1 1-1-0
Return Yards 76 140
Punts-Avg. 2-26 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-15 4-50
Time of Possession 20:57 11:03