Alden Harding had four touchdowns, Trent Lyles counted for seven and the Sacred Heart Gremlins ran wild Friday in a 66-6 victory over the Northwest Mustangs at Tiger Stadium.
Trent Lyles scored the first touchdown with a 23-yard quarterback keep to the left side.
Seven minutes into the game, Northwest quarterback Connor Tichenor lost a fumble during a Sacred Heart sack.
Harding, who feasted on Mustang tacklers Friday, took a screen pass 22 yards to score the second Gremlin touchdown, increasing the Sacred Heart lead to 16-0.
In the closing minute of the first quarter, Harding scored again, following a Micah Tanguay block down the right sideline for a 37-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Harding, in his first year of high school football, said there were plenty of running lanes Friday.
“I saw holes,” Harding said. “I have good blockers that come in, and they usually clean one guy out. The next guys, I just have to juke out after that.”
Sacred Heart’s typical kicker, Teagan Trammell, is with the Gremlins soccer team at the Kickapoo Tournament in Springfield, Missouri. Trent took over kicking duties, and used a variety of squib kicks.
With a 24-0 lead, the Gremlins recovered an onside kick – after extensive referee discussion – and scored on the very next play. That score was negated by penalty, as well as the next touchdown on the ensuing snap, a 50-yard reception to Tanguay.
After the penalties, the Gremlins opened the second quarter with a Hardy 73-yard touchdown on a screen. Hardy squirmed through the Northwest secondary with relative ease.
Gremlin head coach Ben Lyles said the Sacred Heart running backs show the same shimmy and juke during practice.
“We do a lot of half-line drills where we try to get our best against our best in practice,” Lyles said. “Those moves, right there on those plays, he’s doing that against Trent Lyles in practice. He’s doing that to Nick Cashman.
“I think that aspect, of going against that kind of talent, helps them get better when we come out and play.”
Cashman scored the next Gremlins touchdown from 70 yards out, sending a Northwest defender sliding across the Heckart Field turf. The Gremlins broke streak of four successful 2-point conversions after the touchdown, and led 38-0.
Northwest scored its lone touchdown on the first proper kickoff from Sacred Heart. Garren Powell sped down the sideline for a 74-yard return, but the Mustangs would fail its 2-point conversion.
Trent, who also caught two interceptions, escaped a sack and connected with Easton Webb for a 37-yard reception. The catch set up RaeQuan Williams for a 1-yard rushing touchdown, and the Gremlins led 46-6 at half.
With a running clock, Sacred Heart increased its lead with Harding’s third and fourth touchdowns, and a 7-yard dunk to Cashman.
Mustang head coach Garry Walker offered a simple explanation for Friday’s contest. And, despite the score, said the loss was not the worst-case scenario.
“(Sacred Heart) had a great plan,” Walker said. “They came up, tore us up on the inside and dominated the offensive line.
“It’s a big loss for us. Is it the worst? No. Is it going to be the worst? No. We have more games and we’ll play them again.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2