By Dan Hardenbrook

Superior Central saw them coming, but there was little they could do about it.

The Newberry Indians varsity football team enjoyed a smashing success during their fall homecoming game, crushing the Superior Central Cougars by a score of 58-0. The two faced off on Friday, October 1, at the end of Newberry’s homecoming week.

The Indians were fired up and focused, scoring early and often. With five starting Cougar players out on COVID quarantines, including their quarterback, the game was out of reach for the Cougars by halftime.

At that point, the only drama remaining was who would be the homecoming king and queen. Newberry High School seniors Eric Edwards and Cora Bufford were crowned by last year’s king and queen, Chandler Galor and Katie Sue Rahilly.

The Indians’ high-powered offense gets most of the headlines, but the defense was also spectacular on Friday night. The Indians forced three turnovers in the shutout victory, taking a pair of interceptions back for touchdowns on impressive plays by Marco Juarez and sophomore Jacob Mohar. Mohar was playing with the varsity team this week because his JV team had no game.

Friday’s homecoming matchup was the second game this season where the Newberry defense did not allow a point, and the third time they gave up zero first quarter points.

On the offensive end, Indians QB Connor Rintamaki was sharp, leading the offense through the air and on the ground. One of Rintamaki’s highlights of the night was a beautiful option keeper that he tucked and ran for a touchdown. Fellow senior captain Liam Shanley came on in relief for Rintamaki in the second half, leading a group of subs to a touchdown as well. Another sophomore playing up a level this season scored, as Brien Nelson pounded the Superior Central defense in the second half on his way to his first career rushing touchdown.

The game was physical from the start. The Indians used a blend of strength, speed, and grit to wear down the short-handed Superior Central team. The Cougars, who came in at 3-2, were leveled by several big hits and were punished by their opponents all night.

With one of the largest homecoming victories in the school’s history, the Indians improved their season record to 5-1 overall. With this win, and Rudyard’s loss to Munising, the Indians are now set up for a showdown with the Pickford Panthers at home Friday night. This game could be a precursor of a future conference championship matchup later this season.