Entering the season opener with a new core group of players, Veritas Christian’s football team discovered Saturday night it is capable of scoring in bunches, just like the Eagles have done in the previous two-year stretch that included 20 wins and a 2010 Kansas Christian Athletic Association state championship.
Veritas made football look easy at the Eagles’ Nest, destroying visiting Steelville, Mo., 62-14.
No matter which play coach Doug Bennett and his staff called, odds were it was going to work. Veritas had six scoring drives of two plays or less and seven touchdowns on its nine offensive possessions.
Big plays ruled the night, as the Eagles had just two first downs. Bennett didn’t expect that kind of one-sided performance against the Cardinals (0-2) nor that the Eagles (1-0) will be able to sustain such dominance week to week.
“But our guys executed really well,” the coach said. “(Steelville’s) defensive scheme played into our hands.”
When the Cardinals tried to attack the Veritas backfield, it usually led to an easy Eagles score.
Steelville, in fact, set Veritas up for ideal chances on the Eagles’ first two possessions. SHS, which received the opening kickoff, inexplicably went for it on fourth down inside its own 10 on each of its first two drives.
Veritas responded with a six-yard rushing score by Thatcher Martin and a seven-yard run to the end zone by Elijah Harvey, taking an early 16-0 lead.
On the Cardinals’ next possession, Veritas junior defensive end Martin recovered a fumble on the SHS 11-yard line after a botched snap. Just like that, Harvey ran for another score on first down and the Eagles held a 24-0 advantage, having run just four plays from scrimmage.
By halftime — following a touchdown pass from Elijah Harvey to freshman Chad Stieben, a 48-yard rushing TD by senior Andrew Harvey, a 50-yard TD run by the younger Harvey brother, Elijah, and a 32-yard interception return for another score by Stieben — the Eagles led 54-14 and had run just 15 plays.
Said Elijah Harvey, who accounted for five total touchdowns in his first career start at quarterback: “We’re expecting to be explosive and hard-hitting.”
The Veritas defense, which earned its third takeaway in the victory on a third-quarter fumble recovery by freshman defensive end Ben Post, contained Steelville most of the night.
“We’ve got our two seniors, Bryce (Boland, linebacker) and Andrew, and they’re beasts,” Elijah said.
Bennett said the coaching staff won’t be satisfied with what the Eagles accomplished in the drubbing.
“We still don’t know what our best personnel are, and that might change, based on our opponent and their strengths,” he said.
The Eagles have new players at almost every position this year, but Elijah said that doesn’t bother them.
“We still want to continue Veritas football and how we dominate,” he said.
The Eagles will play host to Burlingame on Friday.