WALTHAM - There was nothing Newton North could do to stop the Red and Blue. Natick trounced the Tigers, 36-0, yesterday in a Bay State Conference game at Bentley College.
Natick was in control from the start. On the third play of the game, junior quarterback Scott McCummings hit Brett Flutie on a slant route for a 69-yard touchdown.
McCummings was the catalyst in Natick's first game as the Red and Blue. In June, Natick's School Committee voted to rename the high school's teams the Red and Blue, dropping a name - Redmen - considered insulting to Native Americans.
In the first half, McCummings ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns, one from 32 yards and the other from 65. He also threw for 85 yards and a touchdown.
On possessions during which it did not score, Natick struggled to move the ball.
"Scott made some big plays," said Natick coach Tom Lamb. "He is a playmaker with his feet and with his arm. But we didn't execute efficiently on offense."
Natick's defense was also dominant. It didn't allow a pass completion and allowed fewer than 20 total yards. Rajeev Chorghade had two sacks and Robby Jackson picked off two passes. The Natick front seven put constant pressure on Tigers quarterback Conor O'Neil, forcing him to rush throws and make mistakes, including three interceptions. The front seven held its ground against the run, allowing only one first down.
"We were dominant on defense," said Lamb. "Our players were aggressive and flew around."
Linebackers Timmy and Tommy Brandt were all over the field, batting away passes and wreaking havoc in the Tiger backfield.
"The Brandts are special kids," said Lamb.
In addition to utilizing the big play, Natick capitalized on Newton North mistakes to pull away.
After pinning Newton North deep in Tiger territory, Natick started its second drive in good field position and McCummings rumbled 32 yards for a 14-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, O'Neil was intercepted by Tommy Brandt, who returned the ball 50 yards for a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
The second quarter was a defensive struggle. Steady rain pelted the players and caused dropped passes and awkward throws. But McCummings broke another big play near the end of the half, taking a keeper 65 yards for a touchdown. The point-after attempt was blocked, but fullback Brett Farrell caught the ball and powered into the end zone for a 2-point conversion and a 29-0 lead.
Mistakes were costly for the Tigers. A punt was inadvertently blocked by a teammate and a fumble on a kickoff led to Tommy Brandt's 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
With rain still falling in the fourth, Natick was content to run the ball and chew up time.
A bright spot for Newton North was the play of cornerback EC Turner, who had two interceptions.