By KLINT SPILLER
Special to The Telegram
NESS CITY — Unfortunately for the Thomas More Prep-Marian football team, Ness-Dighton is in its final year of football consolidation, and Ness-Dighton coach Faron Kraft said his team wants to go out with a bang.
Ness-Dighton rolled past TMP-Marian 42-0 in its homecoming game on Friday. The Titans outgained the Monarchs 528 yards to 100.
In only Week 2, Ness-Dighton has already won twice as many games as it won in the past two seasons, finishing the 2007 season 0-9 and the 2008 season 1-8.
"We talked about it a lot at the beginning of the year about going out on a good note, making both communities proud with it being the last year together," Kraft said.
Monarch coach Gene Flax said he was disappointed with his team's performance, especially after getting a 33-6 win over Kinsley in last week's season opener. Flax said he thought his team was going to go into the Ness-Dighton game with some momentum.
"There was no performance tonight," Flax said. "We lacked aggression. I told the coaching staff before the game started that we just didn't have the feel that we had last week. I don't know the reason."
The Monarchs suffered two injuries in the first quarter. Senior fullback Andrew Allen, who ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns against Kinsley, had a groin injury on a 1-yard run, and senior offensive lineman Steve Woo also was injured.
Allen's injury occurred on the Titans' 13-yard line. Two plays later, senior quarterback Andrew Heimann threw an interception.
It was the Monarchs' only trip inside the red zone.
"I felt all season we had taken steps forward every day except one, and this was the day," Flax said. "I thought we took three steps backward."
The Monarchs were already missing junior running back Nathan Zimmerman, who was out with an ankle injury, so sophomores Dylan Lang and Joe Roth saw the bulk of the remaining carries.
"No question it is an impact (to be playing without Allen or Zimmerman), but I really thought our two sophomores would step in and do all right," Flax said. "We expected some young kids to be able to step up (on the line and in the backfield), and they just didn't get the job done."
Flax said it was too early to tell the severity of Allen's injury. Allen finished with 21 yards on eight carries.
"We know it was a groin injury," Flax said. "We are going to get it looked at, but it is going to take some time. Those things don't just heal overnight."
After marching 47 yards on the drive in which Allen was injured, the Monarchs' offense was never on the field for more than three plays until its final drive.
"We challenged the D-line to get up field and disrupt TMP's offense," Kraft said. "Coach Flax is pretty monotonous in his offense. His kids know it to the 'T,' and they run it to the 'T.'
"The only way we had a chance at stopping it was having our defensive line being aggressive and getting up the field and having our linebackers flow hard to the ball," he added.
The Monarchs (1-1) averaged 2.8 yards per play to the Titans' 9.6.
"The bottom line is that we got whipped on the line of scrimmage," Flax said. "That is where the game is won and lost, and we got whipped there offensively and defensively. We didn't tackle at all."
The Titans scored touchdowns on four of their five drives in the first half.
In their first drive of the game, the Titans scored on senior quarterback Joe Flax's two-yard run.
The Titans (2-0) showered the Monarchs with long scores in second quarter. Senior QB Joe Flax connected with senior wide receiver Zac Birney on a 72-yard play-action pass. Birney did a spin move to avoid the Monarch defenders and dove into the right corner of the end zone.
"(Birney) can jump, he can run, he is good at selling his routes and he is good at making people miss," Kraft said. "You saw that on the spin play. He doesn't go down very easy."
Titan sophomore halfback Guy Fullmer scored on a 41-yard touchdown run. Then Fullmer switched roles in the final seconds of the second quarter as he caught a lateral and threw it to Birney for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
The last-second touchdown gave the Titans a 28-0 lead going into the half.
"We said don't let them get deeper than you," Gene Flax said. "It wasn't like we shouldn't have been prepared for it, because we should have been. Our safeties just went to sleep, and it cost us."
Fullmer scored his third touchdown on a 29-yard run in the third quarter, and junior running back C.J. Shaffer scored the Titans' final touchdown on a 24-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Fullmer led his team in rushing with 170 yards on 21 carries. In addition, Flax ran for 85 yards on eight carries and Shaffer recorded 51 yards on four carries.
"We've been teaching (the running backs) how to read the blocks in front of them and how to make the proper cuts, but the bottom line is that it takes athletes to move the ball," Kraft said.
Joe Flax completed 4-of-6 passes for 114 yards, and Birney led the Titans in receiving with 114 yards on two catches.
For the Monarchs, Heimann finished with 20 yards and two interceptions, completing 1-of-12 passes.
Roth and Lang finished with 32 and 25 yards rushing, respectively.