The Smith-Cotton football team opened Tiger Stadium on Friday with fireworks, both literally in the air after the game and on offense, beating Republic 42-14.
Dalton Zaremba scored the first touchdown in Tiger Stadium history, a two-yard dive in the second quarter. Noah Aziere became the first 100-yard rusher in the stadium’s history, gaining 116 yards including a 73-yard score. Caleb Reed completed the stadium’s first pass, a four-yard gain to Ricky Warren, and Jayce Simoncic intercepted a ball for the first turnover.
Failed fourth down conversions by Republic led to touchdowns by Smith-Cotton in the first half. A snap over the head of Republic quarterback Riley Watkins set S-C up near midfield late in the first quarter. Zaremba turned the field position into points 14 plays later. Republic’s next drive ended with another snap over the head of Watkins. S-C took over at the visitor’s 11 and Ricky Warren dove in from one yard out a few plays later.
S-C’s third score also came after a failed fourth-down conversion as Reed marched the offense down the field, scoring with eight seconds left as Noah Aziere rushed in from the one.
Republic got on the board in the third quarter, capping off an eight-play drive with a 5-yard Jerney Jones score.
Zaremba answered with an 85 yard touchdown on the ensuing kickoff to make it 21-7 S-C.
Republic scored again early in the fourth quarter and recovered an onside kick with a chance to cut the lead to seven, but the S-C defense held and on the first play of the next drive, Aziere went 73 yards up the left side for a touchdown to make it 35-14.
A Jayce Simoncic interception cut short the next Republic drive and Zach Powell rushed in from 49 yards out, cutting back to get into open space, making it 42-14.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles