There were no road jitters for the Seneca Indians on Friday.
After spending the previous three weeks at home the Indians took to the road in a Big 8 Conference game with Carl Junction and thumped the Bulldogs 54-14.
A team with weapons to burn, the Indians didn’t waste any of them in spreading the ball around against the Bulldogs. Six different receivers caught passes for the Indians, and their defense was lights-out in the second half.
For the second week in a row, Indians junior Braxton Graham ran a punt back for a touchdown, striking this time from 62 yards out to make it 7-0. Marty Mailes then scored on a 17 yard run to make it 14-0 and Payton Rawlins connected with Kyler Ng on a fade route from two yards out to give the Indians a 21-0 lead.
The rout was on.
An Indians turnover threatened to let the Bulldogs back in it when they turned the miscue into a touchdown to make it 21-7. But Graham would take a screen pass from Rawlins and sprint 57 yards to paydirt to make it a three-touchdown game again. But the lead was short-lived as Carl Junction raced back down the field to score with 19 seconds left to make it 28-14 at the half.
The Indians would allow no more.
“At halftime, as a staff we were not pleased because the momentum had shifted to (the Bulldogs’) side,” Indians coach Dan Scheible said. “I thought the key to the game was at halftime we challenged (our players) to come out in the third quarter and take control of the game again.”
The Indians did just that with much credit going to the defense for keeping Carl Junction off the board the remainder of the way.
“It was mainly done by our defense,” Scheible said of the second half turnaround. “We went three and out on the first series of the third quarter and the defense took control by stuffing (the Bulldogs) on their next drive.”
Dalan Merriman got into the mix for the Indians in the third quarter when he hauled in a nine-yard strike from Rawlins to jumpstart the Indians’ second half attack. Graham scored again on a 70-yard heave from Rawlins and Mailes struck for his second time on a five-yard gallop with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.
Mailes would add his final score with another 17-yard sprint in the fourth quarter. That capped a night in which the Indians saw four receivers, a tailback, and the tight end catch passes. Rawlins was particularly good despite the blustery conditions. He completed 15-of-22 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns.
Page 2 of 2 - On the ground, Graham rushed for 93 yards on 15 carries and Mailes had 69 on 12. The Indians amassed a total of 494 yards of total offense while the defense held the Bulldogs to 262. Merriman and Jalen Skaggs both had interceptions on defense.
“We played well,” Scheible said. “We only had two penalties in the game and both came in the second half. I thought offensively we did a lot of good things and spread the ball around to a lot of people, which I think is a plus.”
Seneca improved to 4-3, 3-2 in the Big 8. Carl Junction fell to 2-5, 2-3.