ST. PAUL — The St. Paul Indians notched a convincing victory on homecoming night Friday, upending the visiting Altoona-Midway Jets 52-0.
St. Paul compiled 246 yards of total offense, while limiting the Jets to 20. The Indians also rolled up 152 yards on the ground, while the Jets managed 12.
"The kids came out and played well tonight," said St. Paul head coach Keith Wiatrak.
His squad moves to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in district play.
Wiatrak said his club's primary flaw this season has been its defense but was impressed with how they "flew to the ball" against the Jets.
"We're trying to get more physical," Wiatrak said. "We put a new defensive scheme in this year that I think fits our kids better."
The Indians scored early and often, with homecoming king Payton Norris corralling a Trey Peters’ pass for a 12-yard touchdown strike on St. Paul's opening possession.
St. Paul found the end zone four times in the opening quarter, capped by Vincent Smith's 37-yard touchdown reception. The Indians also hit paydirt on each of their 2-point attempts and led 32-0 at the conclusion of the first quarter.
Second quarter touchdown scampers by Peters, Riley Vitt and Zane Sexton accounted for the final 52-point margin.
The contest wrapped at the conclusion of the second frame via the mercy rule.
Around the five-minute mark of the second quarter, Wiatrak removed his offensive starters and replaced them with junior varsity players.
Sophomore Zane Sexton made an immediate impact, gashing the Jets' defense for a 25-yard touchdown run.
"We have a lot of speed in the sophomore class," Wiatrak said. "If they keep coming in the weight room, there's some potential down the road."
Vitt, a varsity starter, is another member of the sophomore class who has impressed Wiatrak.
Vitt collected a pair of 10-yard touchdown runs and led all rushers with 68 yards on eight carries.
"Vitt is unbelievable in the weight room," Wiatrak said, noting that the prized underclassman is small in stature, despite his weightlifting dedication.
"I've coached him pretty much his whole life, and I've told him if you're going to be small, be fast."
Altoona-Midway, meanwhile, fell to 0-5 overall, and 0-3 in the district play.
"St. Paul has been in the weight room all summer," said Altoona-Midway head coach Chad Raida. "They were physical and beat us off the offensive and defensive line. We couldn't move the ball and just got whipped at the line of scrimmage right out of the gate."
St. Paul now turns its attention to a key road clash with Waverly, which entered Friday night with a 4-0 record.
"It's going to be a huge district game," Wiatrak said. "We had a few little bumps and bruises tonight but got out with everyone healthy."
Wiatrak said keys to success against Waverly will be limiting turnovers and avoiding "silly" penalties.
"We just have to play hard," Wiatrak said. "When we play hard, we've got a good little football team."
Altoona-Midway hosts Southern Coffey County High School on senior night next Friday.
"We have to quit turning the ball over," Raida said. "We've been averaging six turnovers a game and had four in the first half tonight."