New Cath Drops 4th Straight as Dixie Rolls, 34-14
The forgettable season that has unfolded for Newport Central Catholic so far this season continued on Saturday afternoon as the Thoroughbreds fell at home to Dixie, 34-14.
The story of the game was the Dixie defensive line as they dominated New Cath up front, collecting 10 sacks on the day harassing the Breds quarterback, Patrick Henschen all day. Dixie defensive lineman Colson Machlitt had five sacks himself, including four in the second half.
“Colston was gassed in the first half, we challenged him at halftime, and I don't know what happened. He got mad,” said Dixie head coach David Brossart. “Earlier he had a big old stack of pancakes and I asked him, 'is it the heat or the pancakes?' I think finally the pancakes went through the body and you saw a different Colston in the third quarter.”
Dixie struck first blood on their opening possession with a two-play touchdown drive that consisted of a 40-yard pass play and a quarterback keeper by Drew Moore that went the rest of the distance. Moore was impressive on the day as he regularly ran for big runs and delivered multiple accurate passes when throwing on the run. He is loping, graceful runner who plays with a similar style to Collin Kaepernick.
New Cath's first possession was stalled on a third-down sack by Machlitt which forced them to punt—a them that would repeat itself time and again in the contest. New Cath's second drive was stopped by another sack, this one from defensive tackle Branden Johnson who finished the game with three on the day.
Rather than exploit all the extra offensive possessions made possible by the sacks, Dixie proved a bit careless protecting the football with the lead. In the first quarter, Luke Zajac fumbled and turned the ball over, giving the Breds a chance to equalize with a tying touchdown. Instead, Johnson sacked Henschen again coming up the middle of the pocket and the opportunity was squandered.
The Colonels turned around and scored again, this time from a Cameron Barrett run from two yards out, which was set up by a 32-yard pass play on the previous snap. Dixie had a 14-0 lead and control of the game.
“To have a guy like Cam Barrett come off of the bench and give you that type of play is a big thing,” Barret said.
The third quarter was more of the same. Dixie's pass rush continued to devour the Breds up-front protection, sacking Henschen over and over again. At one point with the score 21-0, Henschen was brought down on three straight plays on sacks. The New Cath offense appeared utterly flummoxed as to how to stop the Dixie pressure. Still, just like the first half, Dixie allowed the score to remain relatively close thanks to another fumble and two muffed punts.
“Offensively, we didn't play well,” said Brossart. “We had some penalties and we've been trying to work through those penalties and we just keep making the same mental mistakes over and over. We had some fumbles early, we had trouble finding some flow.”
Toward the end of the third quarter though, Moore kept the ball on another keeper and this time went 70 yards for the score, juking out the NCC defense on some nifty footwork in the process. The game had been a relatively one-sided affair up to that point, but once Moore scored on the huge play making it 27-0, the outcome was apparent to everyone present.
New Cath refused to give up though and managed two second-half touchdowns when the chips were down, showing pride and toughness in the face of defeat. Nonetheless, they remain winless at 0-4 on the season with no real consistency on offense. In this game, they were simply smaller in the trenches and got beat up physically by a bruising defensive front four. The tandem of Branden Johnson—who has committed to play for Eastern Michigan next year—and Colson Machlitt, combined for eight of the team's 10 sacks and were simply terrors in this game.
Dixie (3-1) travels on a short week to play Boone County Friday night. Newport Central Catholic visits Lloyd.
Story & photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor