By Frank Foreman
The Colton Noble show was on the road this week, as the senior running back had a huge game on both sides of the ball to help keep Cambridge Springs undefeated at 4-0, beating Iroquois 36-14 Friday night.
The Braves were a scrappy bunch that made things interesting early, in large part due to three Blue Devils turnovers, all inside of Iroquois territory.
But in the end, the Braves had no way of stopping Noble, as he rushed for 247 yards on 26 carries, while punching it in the end zone three times.
“Our offensive line did a tremendous job, and they have been doing that every week for us,” Noble said. “In the first half we fumbled too much and that killed us, but we held on better in the second half and we did much better.”
Much better indeed, as the Blue Devils turned a 14-8 halftime lead into a 30-8 advantage entering the fourth quarter. Multiple first half turnovers continually put a crushing end to promising drives for Cambridge Springs in the first half, however the team regrouped and played a cleaner game down the stretch.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but for Blue Devils head coach Clint Rauscher, it’s the win that matters.
“You will take a win anytime. Playing poorly and getting the ‘W’ is better than playing great and losing,” Rauscher said. “We struggled this week, and things will only get harder with the teams coming up. We have the ability, we just can’t turn the ball over deep in their zone three times. You just can’t do that.”
The Blue Devils fumbled their opening possession at the Iroquois 15-yard line, but made up for it on their next possession, when Noble ran it in from 11 yards out to make it 7-0.
The Braves had no intention of the game getting out of hand. on the ensuing possession, they answered in a big way, putting together an impressive eight-play drive, ending with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Carpin to Kyle Laniewicz to keep the game in check. Iroquois converted the two-point conversion and quickly had the lead at 8-7.
The second quarter was plagued with turnovers from both teams, but Cambridge Springs overcame the poor play with a 12-play touchdown drive, culminating with a one-yard touchdown run from Zach Stafford to give the lead back to the Blue Devils.
Cambridge Springs picked up the intensity on defense in the second half, and on the opening possession for Iroquois, forced a safety after pushing the Braves’ offense back deep in their own end. A poor snap and fumble by Carpin led to the safety, and a 16-8 Cambridge Springs lead.
Noble had a big first half on the ground, but turned it on even more in the second half, scoring a 2-yard touchdown run on the possession following the safety to make it 23-8.
Iroquois followed by turning the ball over on downs, which led to a one-play drive from Noble, rushing right up the middle of the Braves’ defense for a 34-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach.
“He is getting back to where he was last year,” Rauscher said of Noble, who was all over the field defensively, making tackle after tackle. “He has great speed and is a thrill for us on both sides of the ball.”
Iroquois did find paydirt once more when Brandon Roda scored on an impressive 42-yard touchdown run, but Cambridge Springs iced the contest when Blue Devils quarterback Devin Walker connected with Stafford for a 41-yard touchdown pass to cap off another win for the Blue Devils.
”When you get to this point in the season where you are 4-0, it becomes a big game for other teams,” Rauscher said. “Iroquois played hard and wanted to win. I think we can build off this, and hopefully it’s a wake-up call.
Cambridge compiled 469 yards of total offense to Iroquois’ 225.
Noble accounted for more than half of that total.
“Being 4-0 is definitely better than being 3-1,” Noble said. “We made mistakes and missed tackles we shouldn’t have missed. We can learn from this and improve.”