NEW AUBURN — The New Auburn football team used a smashmouth style of football to score a 50-22 8-man victory over Mellen on Friday evening.
The Trojans (2-0) piled up 454 yards rushing with four different players finding the end zone.
Nick Walker had a game-high 196 rushing yards and two scores while Caleb Edinger also eclipsed the century mark with 105 rushing yards and two scores. Zachary Fedie added 60 yards on the ground and a touchdown while quarterback Domonic Johnson had 47 rushing yards and two scores.
"None of us are really selfish when it comes to getting the ball," Edinger said of the team's balanced run game. "We just understand that it's his turn, he gets to go. It's my turn to take a break."
"We just want to be able to do what is best for our team and when the coach feels the need to have a certain running back go out there, we have the confidence they'll be able to do their job and run what we need them to run," Walker added.
The Trojans jumped out to a 22-0 lead eight minutes and 20 seconds into the game before the Granite Diggers (0-2) closed the gap to 22-14 by halftime. But the Trojans wore down Mellen, scoring on each of their first three possessions of the second half while limiting the Granite Diggers to one second-half score.
Walker broke free for a 41-yard scoring run to cap New Auburn's opening drive to grab an early 6-0 lead. Fedie added a four-yard score on New Auburn's next drive and Edinger capped the strong start with a 59-yard scoring scamper as the Trojans threatened to pull away early.
Mellen quarterback Luke Zakovec threw for 117 yards and a score and also caught a touchdown from Joren Kruzan as the Granite Diggers rallied from the early deficit. Zakovec found Michael Stovall for a 35-yard touchdown connection with 1:01 left before halftime to cut the deficit to 22-14.
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The New Auburn defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half before the offense moved 68 yards down the field on seven plays with runs of 12 and 31 yards by Walker setting up a four-yard Edinger touchdown run. Stovall returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to keep the Granite Diggers within one score at 30-22 but the Trojans embarked on another lengthy drive to help put the game out of reach.
New Auburn covered 54 yards on 13 plays, converting a pair of fourth down plays and capped the drive with Johnson scoring from four yards out. Mellen turned the ball over on downs on its next drive and Walker opened the ensuing drive with a 72-yard scoring run right through the heart of the defense to extend the lead to 44-22 with 10:25 left.
Edinger returned a Mellen punt to the three-yard line later in the quarter and two plays later Johnson scored from two yards out for the final score of the game.
"Our goal this year is to hit hard and hit often," New Auburn coach Wayne North said. "We are going to be hopefully the most physical team on the field and I think in the long run I think that's what is going to win the football game, that toughness."
New Auburn is 2-0 for the first time since 2014 with the win and looks to improve to 3-0 next Friday at Bruce.
"I'm just proud of these guys," North said. "The energy they have, the enthusiasm behind that, the hard work ethic. Practices are full bore, they're enjoying football. They're enjoying one another and they're enjoying winning."