ST. JOHN — It wasn’t the turnovers that made the difference on Friday night.
It was what the high school football teams did with the following possession.
St. John turned two interceptions into touchdown drives in the second quarter, running up s score of 35-0 to rout the Central Plains Oilers.
“We got started slow,” St. John head coach Nick Garcia said. “Things just didn’t go the way we wanted in that first quarter. We weren’t happy.
“We got that big touchdown at the end of the second quarter, but we went into the locker room, and the guys said that was unacceptable. We wanted to come out in the second half and run the ball.”
Both teams orchestrated drives into the opposing team’s territory, but each had their drives end on downs or turnovers.
Central Plains threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles in the first half. St. John threw three interceptions.
Central Plains quarterback Bryce Steiner threw an interception late in the second quarter, one of two in the game, to St. John 6-foot-7 sophomore safety Dean Wade.
The Tigers drove the ball 65 yards to score on a 2-yard run by senior fullback Ethan Long.
Long finished the game with 108 yards and three touchdowns as part of running back duo with tailback Schuyler Brown.
“I’m going to take it up a step and say we have a 1-3 punch,” Garcia said of his two running backs. “I think Ethan counts as two people once he gets going. We just ran a simple dive up the middle, but he’s a hard runner. He’s a hard kid to bring down.”
Wade reeled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Spencer Nusser with 45 seconds remaining in the first half.
Wade finished with 92 yards receiving.
Brown scored on the Tigers’ first possession in the second half. He finished with 124 yards.
“He did a good job running the football,” Garcia said of Brown. “More importantly, I think he’s challenging himself to do better when running the football. Even tonight, I know he’ll be a good critic of himself. That’s just the type of person he is.”
Steiner completed 5 of 19 passes for 99 yards to lead the Oilers, who have been plagued by injuries early on.
“We got to get better,” Central Plains head coach Chris Steiner said. “We’ve got lots of young kids in there, and we’ve got to get better. Lots of fundamental mistakes.
“In the second half, we had three starters in there. We’ve got more injuries than I can count. Bryce is a senior. We only have three seniors and one got hurt tonight, so we need that leadership.”
St. John hosts Macksville on Friday night.
Central Plains travels to Victoria for a Week 4 matchup.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
At St. John
St. John 35, Central Plains 0
1 2 3 4 F
Central Plains 0 0 0 0 — 0
St. John 0 14 8 13 — 35
St. John — Ethan Long 2 run (pass failed), 5:20.
St. John — Dean Wade 25 pass from Spencer Nusser (Long run), :45.
St. John — Schuyler Brown 27 run (Wade from Nusser), 8:58.
St. John — Long 1 run (Omar Ramirez kick), 6:21.
St. John — Long 10 run (kick failed), :30.