It was just like old times for Verdigris High School Friday night against Blackwell.
Running back Tanner Boles returned to the lineup, scoring three touchdowns, the defense intercepted four passes and 10 runners piled up 258 yards, leading the Cardinals to a 54-16 homecoming dismantling of the Maroons.
Winless in its first three games of the season, Verdigris opened District 3A-5 play by jumping on Blackwell for a 29-0 halftime lead and breezed to a satisfying victory.
“We have four good running backs and we have additional depth with him (Boles) in the lineup,’’ said Verdigris head coach Tony Daniels. ”The only thing I would harp on is our blocking on the perimeter. We need to get to the outside better and our execution needs to be better.
“I waited and waited the last three games for our offense to click and I feel like it finally did tonight. When our offense gets going we can score quickly or we can use 17 play drives to grind it out.’’
Daniels said Boles, coming off a torn ACL injury, is still recovering, but getting closer to full speed. He scored the first two touchdowns on one-yard runs and the Cardinals were off and running. Boles added a six-yard TD blast in the third period to give Verdigris a 35-0 lead.
Homecoming king Noble Patterson proved royal on and off the field, running for a team-high 84 yards on 17 carries and scoring his team’s third touchdown on a five-yard scurry.
Freshman Dylan Hight scored twice and intercepted two Blackwell passes. He snagged a 17-yard six pointer from quarterback Reece Phillips to make it 29-0 and ran back an interception 52 yards as the Cards led 42-8 early in the final quarter.
“Defensively, we got a lot better this week,’’ said Daniels. “Boles at defensive end did a great job and we went to a 3-4 because they (the Maroons) came out widely spread. We let their quarterback get to the outside some, but we didn’t miss as many tackles as in the past.’’
Daniels said his team did a “better job of taking care of the football’’ even though reserves and junior varsity players saw action in the second half. Freshman Hunter Hutchinson scored on a 31-yard run and junior Austin Senephimmachack bolted 63 yards for a touchdown that gave Verdigris a 54-8 lead with 1:56 remaining.