Francis Scott Key literally ran away with last night's season opener at North Carroll.
Eric Saunders ran for 160 yards and compiled 283 all-purpose yards plus one touchdown as the Eagles gave new coach John Baugher a 24-0 victory over North Carroll in a Carroll County game.
Josh Rutter and Layton Hersh combined to run for 149 more yards and two touchdowns, and Key finished with 331 yards rushing and 378 total yards with the help of a massive line that pushed North Carroll around and opened big holes.
"We're as big as we've ever been up front, and we're going to take that to our advantage," Baugher said. "I think all of our backs did a good job. They complement each other."
Saunders averaged 10.6 yards per carry, but his only touchdown came on a 67-yard punt return in the first quarter when he simply outran the North Carroll kick coverage.
The only negative for the 6-foot-1, 197-pound junior was his three fumbles, but the Eagles recovered all of them. Saunders was one of only two 1,000-yard rushers in the county last year while at Westminster and transferred to Francis Scott Key this year.
"I was a little bit nervous, but I've got a lot of faith in my teammates," Saunders said. "I was just getting the little jitterbugs out [early] and then we exploded."
Rutter (13 carries, 72 yards) scored the game's first touchdown on a 2-yard run just 2 minutes, 13 seconds into the game. That capped a 72-yard drive after the opening kickoff.
Saunders scored on his punt return with 5:10 left in the period, and Jim Milesky's kick made it 14-0. Hersh (77 yards on four carries) scored the third touchdown with 9:23 left in the first half, bursting free up the middle for a 66-yard touchdown.
The Eagles slowed themselves at times with 10 penalties, but always bounced back, sometimes with a little luck. Milesky tried a 38-yard field goal with 1:45 left in the half that was floating left - but it hit the goal post and bounced through to make it 24-0.
The Francis Scott Key defense took care of the rest. North Carroll's only real scoring threat came in the closing minutes after Curtis Bosley's 60-yard pass to Danny Kahline. But Saunders raced in from behind and helped drag Kahline down at the 5-yard line.
The Eagles made it to the 1 for third-and-goal, but Bosley was taken down for a 7-yard loss and then sacked for 12 yards on fourth down. Key finished with six sacks.