BYESVILLE - Meadowbrook opened its freshly renovated facility in ideal fashion Friday night.
The Colts - debuting in a stadium that underwent a $600,000 facelift - didn't disappoint a large and boisterous home crowd in posting a 12-0 workmanlike triumph over game but mistake-prone Union Local.
"It was huge opening this place with a win," beamed third-year Colts' head coach Jesse Wells. "A lot of hard work, sacrifice and money went into making this place a reality.
UNION?LOCAL’S Travis James looks to turn the corner as a Meadowbrook defender gives chase during the second half of Friday’s game on the new turf at Capers Field in Byesville. The Colts prevailed, 12-0.
"The last thing we wanted to do was come out and not get the job done tonight. It was the first shutout by a Meadowbrook team in many years," he added. "We are trying to change a culture here. When we win, our fans really get behind us. This was a good start to building this program."
Meadowbrook, coming off a 3-7 season but with much higher hopes for this fall, combined nice offensive balance with an opportunistic defense to thwart the youthful Jets.
"I was pleased with our offensive mix. We ran the ball well behind a young but potentially good line," Wells said. "Defensively, we made the plays when we had to. It was a complete team effort."
Union Local is youth personified as Mark Cisar goes to battle with only five seniors. That being said, if not for a couple of score-stifling picks, the Jets could have easily walked away with the win.
"We got inside their 10 three times and came away with no points. We had our chances, we just couldn't convert when we had to," Cisar said. "I told the kids I was real pleased with their effort. You could see we were in much better shape than Meadowbrook.
"We had the best August in all my years at Union Local. The kids had a great month of work," he added. "That is why this one hurts. They felt that had something taken away from them."
Meadowbrook scored on its initial possession, set up by a Quinn Jacob interception at the Jets' 40. Three Pugh completions and five totes by Lapp, the last coming from two yards out, put the Colts on top 6-0 at the 4:35 lighting of the opening panel. The PAT was blocked.
Union Local responded immediately. The Jets took possession of the ensuing kickoff at their 35. Sophomore quarterback Gavin Porter completed five passes to move the visitors to the Colts' four. Meadowbrook's Cody Johnston snuffed out the drive with a interception in the end zone.
Early in the third quarter, Union Local got a break, covering a Meadowbrook fumble at the Colts' 10. It was deja vu again as the Colts' Christian Kirkman intercepted a UL aerial at the goal line.
The hosts used the theft as impetus to embark on a mammoth 14-play, 85-yard drive, capped again by Lapp's two-yard plunge with 4:14 remaining in the third frame. The PAT again went awry.
Union Local mounted another impressive scoring threat, moving from its 40 down to Meadowbrook's five. A run and three incompletions ended the march.
Pugh, a dual-threat senior, enjoyed a big night for the Colts. He rushed for 91 yards, a majority coming on a 63-yard jaunt. He also showed fine accuracy, completing 10-of-16 passes.
Porter experienced some growing pains but handled himself quite well for much of the night as flashed fine potential. He completed 12-of-30 tosses for 94 yards.
The loss marked the 20th straight setback for Union Local, dating back to the 2010 opener against Meadowbrook.
"I really like this team and think we are capable of having a nice season," Cisar said. "We just need a win for the kids to develop some confidence. One win would go a long way to get us headed in the right direction."
Union Local will get another chance to end its skid, hosting Morgan Friday.
Paid attendance of 3,517 was announced.
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