The Knights of New Milford High School opened their season with a 24-7 win over Bogota at home on Friday afternoon.
“We worked hard all offseason long. All summer we were in the weight room, we were running and it really showed today,” said senior center Jeff McSweeney.
The hard work during the summer did paid off indeed. There is really no way to simulate actual game speed during summer drills and often times teams succumb to fatigue on opening day. The Knights were ready to go the distance.
“The first game is tough with the heat and humidity. We knew they had less numbers than us so our plan was to just keep at it,” said Knights Head Coach Bill Wilde. “That Bogota team has a lot of pride and they battled. They’re tough kids but we thought we could wear them down in the second half.”
That’s exactly what the Knights did. After trailing 7-6 at the half, the Knights put up three touchdowns and came away with three takeaways in the second half.
Two of those touchdowns came on screen passes from quarterback Robert Bowers to receiver Chaheen Payne.
“When Rob threw me the ball, I knew I just had to take it and go,” said Payne. “The first one was a bubble screen. I just made one guy miss and Andrew McElroy made a great block and I had a seam all the way.”
McElroy also contributed with a 20-yard touchdown early in the game on a pass from Bowers.
The workhorse of the offense, Joe Victory, had a great game on the ground. He broke multiple runs for first downs and played a large role in wearing down the Bogota defense. Victory got into the end zone for New Milford’s final score late in the fourth quarter.
New Milford is on the road at Lyndhurst next Friday at 7 p.m.