East Newton’s defense kept the team in the game in the first half, but the offense never could get going as the Patriots fell to Springfield Catholic on the road 35-17 on Friday.

The Patriots (0-1) trailed 7-3 late in the second quarter before the Irish punched one in just before halftime to take a 14-3 lead. Catholic began to pull away in the second half, however, behind a 39 yard touchdown run by Cameron Skornia and a 17 yard scamper by quarterback Jack Jones to make it 28-3. Jones contributed their final score with a 75 yard run in the fourth quarter to make it 35-3.

Tailback Ross Nagle scored a pair of late touchdowns for the Patriots. His first score came on a 6-yard run with just over three minutes left in the game to make it 35-9. He later hauled in a 26-yard pass from quarterback Rocky Liveoak, followed by Colby Thomas catching a pass for a two-point conversion to make it 35-17.

“I definitely thought we played well in the first half,” Patriots coach Seth Johnson said. “Offensively we had a slow start and were very sloppy. Penalties killed us and we kind of beat ourselves offensively.

“Our defense played fairly well in the first half, and then in the second half we had quite a few breakdowns.”

Liveoak completed eight passes for 98 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 100 yards. Nagle had 33 yards on five carries and two touchdowns. Codey Jordon rushed for 10 yards on eight carries and Brandon Jordon ran for 37 on five. Thomas booted a 30-yard field goal for the Patriots’ in the first quarter.

East Newton finished with 288 total yards — 113 rushing, 175 passing. Catholic racked up 283 yards of offense — 263 rushing, 20 passing.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get things cleaned up, but we will and we’ll get there,” Johnson said.

The Patriots travel to Aurora next Friday.