The Solanco football team lost to visiting Northeastern 55-35 in the season opener Friday night, August 23.
The Bobcats recovered four Mules fumbles and never trailed.
"You always want to capitalize on mistakes," Solanco coach Tony Cox said. "Like I told them all, it's always going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes. I know we're going to make mistakes, but we've got to capitalize on those ones that the other team makes and we've got to make sure we fight through it and push ourself through."
After Solanco fumbled on its second offensive play of the game, Kaden Hamilton ran for a 25-yard TD to give Northeastern a 7-0 lead with 6:05 left in the first quarter.
Solanco responded by taking advantage of a Bobcats turnover. Freshman defensive back Taivon Murphy scooped up a loose ball and his return set up a five-yard TD run by Nick Yannutz to tie it with 1:55 to go in the opening quarter. "We have a young team," said Cox. "We're trying to get as much exposure as we can to these kids so they can have success later on."
Following a Northeasterrn TD on the second play of the second quarter, the Mules answered again. Quarterback Grady Unger connected with Ryan Smith on a 29-yard scoring strike to make it 14-14.
The Bobcats took the lead for good with 6:14 to go before halftime when Jordan Lagana caught a short pass from quarterback Zech Sanderson and raced 65 yards for the score.
Northeastern broke the game open by tallying two touchdowns in a 28-second span of the third quarter. Lagana and Sanderson hooked up again for a 27-yard TD pass to pad the lead to 27-14.
Solanco fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Sanderson tossed a 20-yard TD pass to Parker Forry. Just like that, the visitors led 34-14 with 7:27 remaining in the third quarter.
The Mules managed to stay within striking distance. On 4th and 6 from Solanco's 44, Ronnie Fulton took a pitch and scampered 56 yards to trim the deficit down to 34-21.
Northeastern needed just 1:47 to restore its 20-point lead as Manny Capo scooted 70 yards. Solanco tried to stay in contention but was never able to string two TDs together. After a one-yard TD plunge by Unger, Capo countered with his second score of the night. A five-yard TD run by Unger cut the deficit to 48-35 with 7:28 left before Capo's third TD of the second half ended any doubt.
Unger completed 5 of 10 passes for 65 yards. Yannutz paced the Mules with 99 yards rushing. Fulton gained 83 and Unger had 64 yards on the ground.
"Our kids didn't give up. That's one thing they didn't do," Cox said. "They kept their heads up. I could hear kids on our sideline yelling at each other saying, 'Hey, get your heads up'. That doesn't have to be me all the time. It's got to be the players. This is their team. We're here just governing them, trying to teach them ways. This is their team. They're the ones who have to go out there and play Friday night."