By Dan Hardenbrook
The Newberry Indians continue a dominant start to their football season with a 49-14 win in Bessemer on Friday, September 3. Newberry took the lead early and stayed on task all night long, forcing turnovers and playing punishing defense, while the offense scored often.
The dynamic duo of quarterback Connor Rintamaki and wide receiver Eric Edwards shined once again. The senior leaders hooked up on a pair of scores in the first half, and the Indians were on fire from the first snap.
Rintamaki completed every pass he threw for the second game in a row. Along with a perfect completion percentage, he also hasn’t turned the ball over, and the offense has scored on every full possession that they had in the first two weeks. Edwards is also among the early leaders in the entire Upper Peninsula for touchdown catches.
The Indians continued to use a wide variety of players on offense. Marco Juarez, Matthew Rahilly, Coleton Labadie, and Johnny Nutkins ran the ball. Even sophomore Brien Nelson, who normally starts at linebacker and only plays defense, got carries against Bessemer. Newberry also alternated all three quarterbacks, with Rahilly and senior Liam Shanley splitting backup duties behind Rintamaki.
While scoring a ton of points puts you in a good position to win, not giving up any is often just as impressive and important. The starting defense once again did not allow a score.
The Indians defensive line, with Shanley, Edwards, and Zach Burton, kept pressure on the Bessemer offense, which was so beat up they had almost more players out injured than playing by halftime, including their starting QB. Shanley, Edwards, and Burton all had sacks and forced multiple fumbles in the win.
Bessemer couldn’t put points on the board until the fourth quarter, when several subs and a few JV call ups were sent on the field for the very first time.
Even the special teams had highlights. With the Indians already up 43-0 nothing at halftime, Rahilly ran back the opening kick in the third quarter to put an exclamation point on the emphatic win. All UP punter Coleton Labadie boomed one extra point through the uprights and over the fence, landing in the next door neighbor’s yard, which led to a search party to find and recover the ball.
The Indians will look to go to 3-0 when they visit Cedarville next week. The newly named Cedarville-DeTour Islanders are 0-2 this year. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
In a separate contest, the JV team, which didn’t have a game last weekend, will travel to Gaylord St. Mary on Thursday.