Ferris senior Ben Goodwin may not be able to throw it like he used to, but he’s still a weapon.
Goodwin and two other Saxons rushed for 100 yards or more as the new-look, run-first Saxons ran over the University Titans 42-14 in a season-opening game Thursday at Albi Stadium.
“He’s a huge weapon and he still has the heart,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said. “He’s a threat to run the ball so it’s like having three running backs.”
The Saxons broke from a 14-14 tie at halftime by dominating the Titans on both sides of the ball.
Defending state champion Ferris, known for passing the ball all over the field through four straight trips to the semifinals and beyond, made no secret what it wanted to do in its opener. The Saxons rushed 55 times for 380 yards. Returning starting running back Kole Heidinger led with 126 yards on 17 carries, Goodwin had 112 on 10 and Sharkey’s son, Drew, had 105 on 21 attempts.
“We’re going to do what we’re good at,” Goodwin said.
A lot of credit must go to the Saxons’ senior-laden offensive line. Left tackle Bennett Burkhardt, left guard Max Lee, center Chris Beaulaurier, right guard Cain Mitchell and right tackle Joe Arguinchona opened some nice holes.
“I thought we leaned on them pretty good in the second half,” Sharkey said. “It’s very tiring for a defense.”
Goodwin, who suffered an elbow injury in an American Legion baseball game this summer, has postponed Tommy John surgery until after his senior year. Still, he attempted four passes despite wearing a heavily padded brace on his right elbow.
“I’ve got some mobility, but not a whole lot,” Goodwin said.
U-Hi looked as if it would give the Saxons a difficult test. The Titans outgained the Saxons 208-202 in the first half.
Then things fell apart the final two quarters.
“We wilted,” U-Hi coach Bill Diedrick said. “We played a first half without making any mistakes. The second half we came out and made a couple of critical mistakes. Ferris put two scores on the board and at that point, emotionally, it was a real turning point in the game.”
U-Hi quarterback Conner Johnson played well, completing 16 of 30 passes for 228 yards.
“They’re going to be a good team,” Sharkey said of the Titans. “I don’t think there’s any doubt. Conner Johnson is a good quarterback, they can run the ball and they have a good offensive line.”
Diedrick praised Goodwin’s effort.
“I thought he played a heckuva game,” said Diedrick, who made it a point to shake his hand afterward. “For a kid to come out and do what he did … compliments to him.”
Sharkey recounted a number of positives.
“I was real pleased with no turnovers,” he said. “We were able to kind of do what we wanted in a lot of different ways.”
Mead 47, North Central 7
The Panthers’ new offense, the Willamette fly, flew all over the field against the Indians.
The Panthers zipped to a 40-0 lead in the first half to make quick work of North Central.
Speedy Wes Bailey scored three touchdowns in the first half. Mead piled up 273 yards of total offense to NC’s 104.
Running back Davian Barlow scored on a 78-yard run to open the third quarter, giving the Panthers a 47-0 lead. He rushed eight times for 147 yards and two TDs.