ROCKFORD – A season ago, Newman Catholic, which was fighting for a top finish in district play, found its self in a surprisingly spirited game against Rockford.
Friday was déjà vu.
Newman, with a 3-1 overall mark and a 1-1 district record, trailed winless Rockford 14-13 at the half before putting together a solid second half to pull away for a 42-21 win in the Warriors’ homecoming game.
“I told the kids all week that they would be ready,” Knights coach Rich McCardle said. “Kids have a way of fighting on their home field.”
In uncharacteristic fashion, the Newman offense relied heavily on ball control and the rushing game.
The Knights rushed for more than 330 yards with both Ben Jacobs and Josh Fitzgerald eclipsing the 100-yard mark.
Jacobs finished with 138 yards rushing and four touchdowns – three on the ground and one on a 55-yard pass from Austin Eckenrod.
Fitzgerald added 121 yards on the ground and scored on a five-yard pass from Eckenrod.
For the game, Newman amassed nearly 450 yards of total offense.
The Rockford offense, which has struggled in recent weeks, took to the air for its most productive game of the season.
Zach Bushbaum, Rockford’s senior quarterback, connected on 19-of-26 passes for 316 yards and two scores.
Bushbaum’s scoring strikes were a 44-yard completion to Dillon Schriever to cap the opening drive of the game and a 90-yard catch and run by Kaden Lyman.
Bushbaum also had a 75-yard completion to Tanner Grady that set up a one-yard touchdown run by Schriever.
Lyman finished with nine catches for 136 yards while Grady had four receptions for 98 yards.
“We came out with a lot of intensity,” Warriors coach Nick Johnson said. “When we play together, we can do good things.”
Newman (4-1, 2-1) returns home on Friday for its own homecoming game against a West Hancock squad that is undefeated in district play.
Rockford (0-5, 0-3) is slated to host North Butler on Friday.