NEW ALBANY — It didn’t take long for Columbus North to put Friday’s football sectional contest against New Albany away.
Mitchell Burton accumulated more than 150 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the first half to put away New Albany in a 52-6 rout.
Class 6A No. 6 North (9-1) moves on the face 6A No. 3 Center Grove, which defeated Jeffersonville in the other half of the sectional bracket.
“We had two great weeks of preparation getting ready and we came out and executed early,” North coach Tim Bless said. “All three phases made big plays in the game, and we let a lot of young kids play in the second half.”
Burton’s first touchdown came from 17 yards out on North’s first drive of the game. His second score was one for the highlight reel.
Running up the left side, Burton had only one man to beat. He made a great juke move as the defender was coming at him and finished the 49-yard run for a 14-0 lead.
Burton also added a run from 62 yards out to extend the lead with nice blocking from the offensive line.
“(Burton) is back at speed, which is good for us, but it all starts with the guys up front,” Bless said. “We were clearly the better unit at the line of scrimmage, and that is something we felt confident about going into the game.”
It was not just Burton that made plays. The special teams got involved. North blocked a punt, and Jalen Paswater scooped up the ball and ran it back 22 yards for the score.
The special teams had another blocked punt in the first half, but it was negated by a defensive holding penalty. It did not matter as the defensive stood its ground and forced a turnover on downs.
North quarterback Triston Perry gave Burton’s legs a rest and got the passing game involved. Perry threw for more than 150 yards in the first half and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Trey Vincent.
Harley Huser ran the second half opening kickoff back 75 yards. Cortez Bandy added a rushing touchdown in the third quarter.
With the game out of reach in the second half, the teams played with a running clock. New Albany scored its only touchdown with 46 seconds left in the game.
North hopes to avenge the loss to Center Grove in the first round of the sectional last year.
“We have been watching a lot of their film,” Bless said. “Having the bye, we as coaches spent a lot of time looking at them. We still were prepared for New Albany, but we had extra time, and we wanted to make intelligent usage of that extra time. We are excited about this opportunity, and obviously, Center Grove coach (Eric) Moore has as good as a program there is in the state of Indiana, but we are excited for the challenge.”