Cats steamroll ‘Clones
It was obvious the De Soto football team was returning a variety of weapons for the 2006 season. Friday night's season opening win over Ottawa was still a bit ridiculous, however.
The Wildcats took advantage of the Cyclones early and often and used a wide variety of backs, tight ends and wide receivers to build a 60-19 victory.
"It's a good start," De Soto coach Brad Scott said. "We just capitalized on their mistakes and we didn't make any and those things are going to happen."
Junior Jake Morse had the best night of his career to open his second season as the starting quarterback, completing 12 of his 15 passes for 151 yards and four touchdowns.
His most consistent target was Erik Hill, who caught six balls for three touchdowns, but sophomore spark plug Shane Miller also caught one and added three other touchdowns.
Miller scored two touchdowns on the ground, the first a 16-yard improvised dash from a group of tacklers on the near sideline, across the middle of the field to the far corner of the end zone on the other side of the field. The second was a speedy shot around the corner of the Cyclone defensive line.
He also scored a touchdown on a punt return. He piled up more than 100 yards on two returns alone and put De Soto in front 34-6 early in the second quarter with a 60-yard return behind a wall of blockers.
"It was designed to go to the right," Miller said. "Without the blocking, I wouldn't have been able to do anything. I made one cut and that was it. It was all blocking."
Morse also ran one score in, turning a bungled snap into a broken-play run. He cut up through the middle of the line and broke free for a 65-yarder that put the Cats ahead 47-6 with five minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the first half.
"Jake was incredible. I go with him to his trainer and he's pretty good there, but he's never been this good on the field," Miller said. "He's been working hard over the offseason and it paid off."
As explosive as the Cats were on offense, it wouldn't have all been possible were it not for a wealth of Ottawa mistakes. Tyler Farmer gave De Soto the lead early in the first, putting the team's first drive of the season away with a 27-yard touchdown run just five plays and 1:11 into the new season.
The Cyclones fumbled the ball on the ensuing kickoff and three plays later Morse connected with Hill for the first time, this one a 15-yard strike that capped off a 20-yard drive.
Another Morse-to-Hill touchdown -- set up by a 43-yard Miller punt return -- put the Cats ahead 21-0. By that point Ottawa had run four plays -- one a punt -- and sat five yards in the hole offensively.
"That's going to get you beat quicker than anything," Scott said of the early turnovers and the short field. "I don't think that was at all a reflection of their football team. I think things steamrolled on them a little bit and our kids got after them."
Senior Cyclone running back Darius Johnson had trouble getting going early, but proved lethal when he was finally able to build up steam. He scored two touchdowns, including an 83-yard run that set the final score with 7:23 to play in the fourth quarter, and finished with 201 yards on 21 carries.
But it proved far from enough. Four turnovers doomed Ottawa and paved the way for De Soto's season opening romp.
"It's huge, but coach told us this can't be our best game," Miller said. "It's our first game, and we're going to try and make it our worst game."