Football: Middletown cruises at Cloverdale

By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

CLOVERDALE — Middletown had 324 yards of total offense in the first half and rolled to a 47-7 victory Friday night against Cloverdale 47-7 in their North Central League I football game.

The first-place Mustangs improved to 4-0 in the league and 7-1 overall. The Eagles entered the game in a four-way tie for first but fell to 2-2 in the NCL I and 3-5 overall. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak.

“The game went like we expected it would,” said Middletown fullback Brad Beckwith. “We studied film and had a good hard week of practice. We prepare the same for every game and it all came together tonight.”

Middletown scored on three of its first four possessions, running at will against the much smaller Eagles to take a 21-0 lead just three seconds into the second quarter.

Austin Benson carried the load on the first drive with 30 yards on four carries. Josiah Amos threw a 21-yard scoring pass to Brad Bologna.

Benson’s 31-yard burst behind fullback Beckwith set up the star runner’s 4-yard touchdown run to up the lead.

Cloverdale didn’t get a first down in its first two possessions, and Benson’s 6-yard run advanced the lead to three touchdowns.

“We don’t overlook any team,” Benson said. “Cloverdale played tough but our offensive line, receivers and quarterback were great. Our defense was solid.”

In the first half alone, Benson rushed for 114 yards and Beckwith had 58 plus a touchdown run.

Quarterback Josh Holden rushed 13 yards for the Eagles’ score and completed five of seven passes in the first half for 110 yards.

Holden and Greg Scarmella were the lone bright spots got the Eagles in the first two quarters. Scarmella caught a pass over the middle and ran 46 yards to set up Holden’s touchdown. Scarmella later caught up to a wide-open Middletown receiver to bat down what seemed a sure touchdown pass.

The bruising Middletown defense held Bernardi, a 5-foot-10, 150-pound sophomore, to 23 yards rushing on 10 carries.

Holden wound up completing nine of 16 passes for 160 yards. He was intercepted twice as the Eagles desperately tried to force the ball downfield in the second half.

Benson finished with 20 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Beckwith ran 11 times for 79 yards. Both backs left the game for good early in the third quarter.

Josiah Amos hit on seven of 15 passes for 137 yards. One was a 46-yard gain on a screen pass to Beckwith.

“We’re playing well but we still have room to improve,” Beckwith said. “We just want to get better each week.”

Benson said the Mustangs are gearing up for the North Coast Section playoffs.

“Right now on a scale of 1 to 10 we’re playing at about 8,” Benson said. “We can most definitely be playing at our absolute best by the playoffs.”

Ted Sillanpaa can be reached at Ted.Sillanpaa@pressdemocrat.com

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