STATE CENTER - Everyone knew West Marshall didn't lose much off its roster coming into the 2011 football season.
And after Friday night's 58-0 thrashing of Class A No. 1 Madrid, it's clear the Trojans haven't lost their touch, either.
Class 2A No. 1 West Marshall (1-0) returned to the big-play well they so often drew from last year to overwhelm the under-manned and over-matched Tigers (0-1), putting up 37 points before the first quarter's end.
T-R PHOTO BY TRAVIS HINES
West Marshall’s Cody Gadbaw races down the sideline in front of Madrid’s Owen Gibbons (44) and Carson Carpenter (1) to score on a 63-yard punt return in the Trojans’ 58-0 win Friday night in State Center.
The Trojans had three touchdowns measuring 45 yards or longer in those first 12 minutes and five for the game.
Returning Trojan all-stater Dalton Ferch carried the ball just five times on the night, but made the most of his few totes, tallying 145 yards and three touchdowns.
"Our line did an excellent job just opening up huge, huge holes," said Ferch. "We just jumped on (Madrid) early."
A Madrid fumble on the game's first play from scrimmage set the Trojans up early, and they certainly made the most of it.
Two plays after the fumble, Ferch pushed into the end zone from 10 yards out. Then, after a Madrid three-and-out, Ferch made a dazzling
56-yard dash for a score. Another Madrid drive without a first down set up a 45-yard scoring strike from Braydn Beals to Duncan Ferch.
West Marshall ran four plays from scrimmage in the game's first 6 minutes and scored on three of them. The trio of TDs came on consecutive plays.
And Madrid, with returning 1,900-yard rusher Jeremy Johnson and 500-yard rusher CJ Manthe both sitting out, never stood a chance.
"We played really well early, and we got off to a really fast start," said West Marshall head coach Ken Winkler. "And (Madrid) has a few kids out, which hurts them.
"Mentally, I think that had a great effect on them once we had a fast start."
Things didn't slow down after that first 6-minute onslaught, with the Trojans scoring on a safety, a 2-yard Tanner Stalzer plunge and a 47-yard Tysen Streeter run before the end of the quarter.
Dalton Ferch added his final score of the game midway through the second quarter and the Trojans carried a 44-point lead into the break to keep the clock rolling due to the 35-point mercy rule for the entire second half.
Madrid had 58 yards of total offense and two turnovers in the first half.
"We just couldn't get out of our own way," said Tigers head coach Randy Hinkel.
After gouging the Trojans for 437 yards on the ground in last year's 37-33 victory, Madrid managed just 146 yards of total offense this night.
West Marshall finished the day with 337 yards rushing and got a 63-yard punt return from Cody Gadbaw and a 65-yard run from Elijah Streeter for scores in the second half to punctuate its evening.
West Marshall returns nearly every starter from the squad that advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs last fall, and on this night the Trojans simply looked like a bigger, faster and better version of that team, especially up front along the offensive and defensive lines.
"Experience is a great thing," said Winkler. "Our linemen were pretty inexperience a year ago, and it kind of showed against good teams.
"They've worked hard in the weight room and it showed tonight, especially early."
And even with an abbreviated workload, Dalton Ferch showed himself to be one of the more dynamic players across the state.
On his second touchdown run, Ferch spun to avoid a defender, then bounced off another, put his hand to the ground to keep from falling and finally outran the rest of the defense down the left sideline for his 56-yard score.
"That touchdown run was really an example of what kind of player he is because that was just a great run," said Winkler. "He turned something bad into something good."
The Trojans will take on another ranked foe next week when they hit the road to face Class 1A No. 4 Aplington-Parkersburg (1-0).
In last year's meeting, A-P defeated the Trojans 35-6 in State Center.