Smith rumbles for 274 yards, 4 TDs; Trojans cruise

BLAIRSBURG – Ankeny Christian Academy couldn’t stop Tyler Smith here Friday night. Heck, the Eagles couldn’t even contain him.

The proof was in the pudding.

Smith – a Northeast Hamilton senior tailback who is not your prototypical bruiser at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds – averaged 8.1 yards per carry and plowed across the goal line four times to propel the Trojans to a 52-13 rout of their 8-man non-district counterpart during Week 1 of the season.

The heat and humidity seemingly had no effect on Smith, who lugged the ball 34 times for a whopping 274 yards. He broke free for touchdown runs of 15, 66, 8 and 50 yards, and he also punched in three two-point conversion runs for good measure.

“Somebody is going to have to be the workhorse this season and it’s probably going to be Tyler most nights,” NEH head coach John Seiser said. “I think some nights (fullback) Gabe (Rapp) will get more too, but they decided to come up and stuff the line, so we went outside with Tyler.”

Northeast Hamilton (1-0) generated 402 yards of total offense against the overpowered Ankeny Christian (0-1) defense, 369 coming on the ground. Kyler Rapp chewed up more than 10 yards at a time en route to 62 yards on six lugs, and Gabe Rapp chipped in 33 yards on 10 carries. The Rapp boys both scored a touchdown; Kyler on a 24-yard fourth-quarter scamper, Gabe a 1-yard plunge in the second quarter.

The Trojans fumbled the ball away on each of their first two possessions and the Eagles turned one of the miscues into a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the contest.

But NEH eventually began to roll, as it reeled off 40 consecutive points to build a commanding lead by the midpoint of the third period.

“They had some size, so that gave us some trouble at first and we also didn’t execute very well,” Seiser said. “But the line got a lot better and we started rolling.

“It was about what we expected. We haven’t had more than 14 guys padded up (in practice) for more than two weeks, so this was our first live action really.”

Senior quarterback Logan Seiser got the offense turned in the right direction late in the first quarter with a 9-yard scoring toss to tight end Nick Jeffers. He completed 5-of-9 passes for 33 yards; it could – and probably should – have been more, but several dropped passes stymied the aerial attack.

“We had time to throw, but we dropped too many balls,” John Seiser said. “It’s something that’s got to be a focus for us because we have to be able to throw.”

Jeffers was on the receiving end of four of the completions for 29 yards.

Smith raced to the end zone three times and Gabe Rapp found paydirt before the Eagles could stop the bleeding on a touchdown toss late in the third quarter.

Kyler Rapp and Smith added two more scores in the final period.

Ankeny Christian quarterback Noah Szymanski completed 12-of-32 passes for 166 yards and the one score, but he was picked off twice by Kyler Rapp and Hunter Dilley. Strong amassed 120 receiving yards on six grabs.

NEH limited the Eagles to a paltry 70 rushing yards on 28 totes.

Tyler Smith also led the Trojans defensively with 15 tackles. Logan Seiser got his hat in on 10 and Austin Smith produced eight, including a pair of sacks.

Nose guard Andy Pate didn’t pile up the tackles, but he was a thorn in Szymanski’s side all night.

“Andy Pate put on a lot of pressure,” John Seiser said. “He had a great game defensively.”

NEH will remain at home this week to face Colo-NESCO (0-2) Friday night at 7 p.m.