NORMAL – Tommy Davis set a fast pace and Chris Taylor smashed the normal community high school football team’s throttle to the ground with special teams firepower on Friday at Dick Tharp Field.
Davis opened the game with a 62-yard kickoff return that led to the NCHS’s first touchdown, and Taylor scored the second on a 70-yard punt return as the Ironmen overwhelmed Peoria Richwoods, 54-13, in the Big 12 Conference.
“I am proud of our special teams,” said NCHS coach Jason Drengwitz. “They can make a difference in the ball game, good or bad. Tonight I thought it was really good for us.
The Ironmen took their record to 3-0 overall and in the Big 12 and scored 146 points in three games.
Drengwitz said Davis’ opening return gave NCHS a great position on the pitch in the first quarter when Richwoods was on the rise.
“Turning the field over and scoring points on the board was awesome,” said the Ironmen coach. “I felt like we had momentum for the jump and it never left.”
Davis lamented the fact that he did not reach the end zone.
“I almost had one. All I had to do was pass the kicker, ”he said. “I was just nervous. I tripped a bit. “
Taylor picked up a rebounding Richwoods punt, headed for the left sideline and would not be caught on his touchdown.
“As I picked it up I looked and didn’t see anyone for 5 or 10 yards,” Taylor said. “I know my speed and what I’m capable of, so I took it, made a move and took it home for a score.”
Drengwitz said the NCHS sideline let Taylor know he has room to line up the punt as he bounces back towards him.
“He’s very talented and very dynamic in the open field. If we can get our hands on the ball on the punt, we want him to get it. He can do good things, ”Drengwitz said. “Chris and Tommy are very special athletes. What’s even better is that they work really hard, can be coached, and they train the right way. They are going to have a really bright future.
This was not the end of the NCHS Impact Special Team Games.
After Taylor’s touchdown, Cooper Caraway recovered a Knights fumble on the ensuing kickoff.
In the next play, Ironmen quarterback Chase Mackey hit Terance Washington with a 20-yard touchdown pass and a 21-0 lead over the NCHS.
That margin fell to 28-0 on a 30-yard touchdown from Michael Coleman with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
A Camden Maas fumble set up a 5-yard Mackey touchdown in Washington and the NCHS carried a 35-0 halftime lead.
“I feel like we keep improving every week,” said Washington, who caught three passes for 36 yards. “I feel like no team can stop our attack, and I say that with all my heart.”
Hunter Redman walked away with another Richwood fumble on the second half kick-off. Five games later, Coleman charged 3 yards into the end zone for a 42-0 Ironmen bulge.
Davis showed his speed again in a 52-yard touchdown sprint around the left side. The runner-up totaled 78 rushing yards in just three attempts.
The last touchdown for the NCHS was a 5-yard rush from Brady Augstin. The Ironmen rushed for 191 yards and Mackey had 61.
“We handled the ball well and made some big plays in the passing game,” said Drengwitz. “I’m proud of the way we played in all three phases.
Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt