Newman battles back to top Orion

Mindy Carls
Orion Press Box

Orion made Sterling Newman play from behind in the first half, but a touchdown late in the second quarter gave the Comets a 14-13 lead and they went on to win 27-13 on Saturday night, Sept. 11, at Sterling High School.

“We got off to a great start,” Charger coach Chip Filler said. “Within two plays, we were in the end zone.”

With 9:30 to go in the first quarter, 2:59 Orion took a 7-0 lead on Cole Kratzberg’s 37-yard run.

Newman answered with a two-play drive of its own. A 92-yard run let the Comets tie the score.

Orion then had to deal with a Newman defense “that started bringing it, getting in our face,” Filler said.

In the second quarter, Charger quarterback Jared Mohr and Quinn Hoftender connected on a 75-yard pass for a touchdown and a 13-7 lead.

Orion was just doing what the Newman defense dictated they could do, Filler said. He thought the Charger offense was about to explode, especially since Orion would have the ball to start the second half.

The Chargers did have another chance to score, only to turn the ball over on an interception in the red zone.

Newman took advantage of field position late in the first half. The Orion defense forced the hosts to punt with 2:59 on the clock. As the ball bounced toward the goal line, a Comet swatted it out of the end zone.

Starting at the 2-yard line, Orion went three-and-out. The punt gave Newman possession at the Orion 32, setting up a Comet touchdown seconds before halftime for a 14-13 edge.

In the third quarter, the Comets went up 20-13 on a 1-yard run. Orion was minus 2 in total offense during the period.

The Chargers mounted a drive in the fourth period. Just when it seemed about to end with a punt, a penalty let the visitors keep moving. With 2:55 to go in the game, the Comets intercepted a pass for the third time.

Fifteen seconds later, Newman was in the end zone on a 95-yard touchdown run to secure the 27-13 lead.

Filler said he was trying to protect his quarterback with play calling.

“When you’re conscious of making mistakes is when you are going to making them,” the coach said. “Jared is trying his best. We need to be ourselves.”

Filler said the defense “played really well all night.” The long run at the end came when the defenders were aggressive, selling out and trying to make a play.

Orion will travel to Port Byron for a game with Riverdale at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17.

To start the season, coach Guy Dierikx’s Rams have lost 47-12 to Bureau Valley, 57-20 to Mendota and 52-12 to Rockridge.

“Riverdale is much improved,” Filler said. “They’re putting up points.”

The Rams are predominantly a running team, but they will throw the ball, Filler said. They don’t like to punt, and when they kick off, they try to execute the onside kick every time.

“To say the least, Riverdale will play with enthusiasm,” Filler said.