FRANKLIN — Columbus North junior quarterback Trenton Kelley had a first varsity start to remember.
“We got off to a great start,” said Kelley, who saw just limited varsity action late in games last season. “We had a great game plan coming in and they did as we expected them to do. The coaches really prepared us for this game and that’s why we got off to such a fast start.”
Kelley threw for three touchdowns, two to D’Andre Scruggs, and ran for a 2-yard TD to power the Bull Dogs to a 41-0 over Franklin in their season opener Friday night.
“I’ve been playing with D’Andre for a couple years and he might not be the biggest kid (5-8, 150 pounds), but he’s a great player and I’m lucky to have him,” Kelley said.
Senior running back Cortez Bandy rushed for 175 yards on 25 carries to lead the running attack.
Bandy scored first for the Bull Dogs on a 7-yard TD pass with 8:30 left in the first quarter. The PAT failed. No matter; North was on the scoreboard less than two minutes later on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Kelley to Scruggs.
With 2:08 left in the first quarter, Kelley and Scruggs hooked up again for a 23-yard scoring pass to make it 20-0.
“I was proud of our kids for getting out of the gate strong,” Bull Dogs coach Tim Bless said. “We knew we had to make the statement early. There was a lot of momentum and enthusiasm with Franklin coach (Chris) Coll taking over. He’s an established head coach and they’re a veteran football team. I was really pleased with the start.”
Driving again at the start of the second quarter, Kelley was intercepted deep in Franklin territory. The Grizzly Cubs followed with a 12-play drive that stalled before making midfield but chewed up nearly seven minutes.
In the third quarter, Bandy added another 10-yard TD run. Kelley then ran for his score and then connected with tight end Tristan Bailey to push North’s lead to 41-0.
Like the second quarter, the final quarter was scoreless as both teams subbed quite liberally.
Early in the fourth quarter, Bandy had a 60-yard run and a 83-yard TD run called back for holding calls. The Bull Dogs finally had their first punt of the game with 10:03 to go.
“We have a lot of first-year starters and they’re very talented football players,” Bless said. “It was Trenton’s first start but we had great confidence he was going to put the ball where it belongs. We have great players on the perimeter and they all made great plays (Friday night).”
Bless said there a lot of new faces on defense.
“But from what we’ve seen in the summer and preseason scrimmage, we had high hopes we were going to play a dominant form of defense and that certainly came to fruition,” he said.