Few developments slip past Jim Margraff. But even the Johns Hopkins coach did a double-take when he took note of his team's dominance in the first half this season.
Through the first seven games thus far, the No. 9 Blue Jays (7-0 overall and 6-0 in the Centennial Conference) have outscored opponents 176-36 in the first half, including 94-13 in the first quarter and 82-23 in the second.
"I saw that, too, and I was sort of surprised," Margraff said Wednesday. "I guess we've gotten off to some good starts. That's something that has been a focus. In the last several years, we started slowly at times, but this year, we've jumped out quickly."
Johns Hopkins has shut out five opponents in the first quarter and posted three more shutouts in the second. In the first half of its last two games, the team outscored Dickinson, 28-0, en route to a 42-7 thumping on Oct. 17 and then rolled to a 34-0 advantage against Gettysburg before coasting to a 37-14 victory last Friday.
Margraff said the fast starts have given the Blue Jays an emotional and mental advantage and deflated opponents.
"I think you always set out to do that," he said. "I think you hope to take some of the wind out of their sails early."
On Saturday, the Blue Jays will clash with an Ursinus squad (6-1, 5-1) that has outscored opponents in the first half, 105-55. But in the Bears' lone loss, they were on the wrong end of a 24-7 hole before falling to Juniata, 38-10, on Oct. 18.