BERWYN – Nick Del Nodal knows when to give credit where credit is due.
The Riverside Brookfield running back was instrumental in the Bulldogs’ 33-0 win against host Morton in the season opener Aug. 25, but he didn’t do it alone.
“I love [getting the carries], and I have to give credit to my O-line up front,” Del Nodal said. “They did a great job.”
Del Nodal powered the rushing attack early in the game, setting up Hunter Hughes to Stefan Giminski touchdown passes of 3 and 50 yards less than three minutes apart in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Del Nodal scored on 9- and 4-yard rushes on back-to-back runs, the latter set up by Zach Vaia’s 46-yard punt return, as the Bulldogs took a 27-0 lead with 7:15 left before halftime.
As explosive and efficient as RB was on offense, the defense was just as impressive. Dominick Rowe and Andrew Mirko combined for a tackle for loss on the first play from scrimmage, Mirko added another tackle for loss on the third play, and the duo combined for a sack late in the first quarter.
Jeff Bills had a tackle for loss early in the second quarter as the Bulldogs held the Mustangs to negative 32 yards in the first half.
“We were firing on all cylinders for most of the game as far as offense, defense and special teams,” RB coach Brendan Curtin said. “We had some explosive plays on offense and obviously we did a great job on defense with the shutout.”
The Bulldogs (1-0) were forced to punt twice in the third quarter by a much more composed Morton defense. The Mustangs had the Bulldogs in fourth-and-goal from the 14-yard line in the fourth quarter when Hughes found Devin Moody for a touchdown while scrambling to avoid pressure.
By then, Del Nodal’s night was long over after he compiled 109 yards on 18 carries. Hughes completed 16-of-24 passes for 159 yards and the three scores, and Giminski hauled in seven passes for 96 yards.
“We had a lot of good things happen tonight,” Del Nodal said. “We had a lot of explosive things on offense and defense, so I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Next up for the Bulldogs is a trip to Wauconda, a playoff team the past two years. RB won last year’s showdown 21-20.
“This will be the third time we’ve matched up with them and each of the other games has been a battle, a 48-minute battle, so we know we’re going to have our hands full,” Curtin said of playing Wauconda. “We’re going to enjoy this one and then get back to work.”
Despite the struggles on both sides of the ball, Morton coach Bob Organ is excited about the future for his Mustangs (0-1). An inexperienced squad was forced to grow up quickly in the opener, but a better second half against RB portends better things ahead.
“As I told the kids, as much as you want to you cannot mimic Friday night, and to me that’s what happened. They’re young and it showed, and that was one of my fears coming into Week 1 against a very established football program,” Organ said. “At halftime we were telling them, ‘Relax, smile.’ They were so tight.
“I could name a hundred things guys did that they didn’t do all summer and all offseason, but they got their feet wet and got better and we’ll go up from here.”
An LT offense expected to be high-powered managed one touchdown in the first quarter against host Sandburg on Aug. 25.
The Lions quickly ramped up the intensity.
Ben Bryant connected with Nathan Rusk for a 5-yard first-quarter touchdown. Bryant connected with Bryce Moskiewicz (26 yards), Louis Banda (37 yards) and Rusk (47 yards) for scores in the second quarter as LT went ahead 27-7 on the way to a 33-22 win.
LT (1-0) hosts Hinsdale South (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1.
The Roadrunners won their Aug. 25 game against Dunbar when the Mightymen had to forfeit.
Fenwick also was a forfeit winner against Bowen.