POWERS - Speed kills.
At least that was apparent Friday night as top-ranked North Dickinson raced to a 56-6 football triumph over the North Central Jets.
The victory enabled the Nordics to improve to 7-0 overall and clinch the Mid-Eastern Conference title.
"I was nervous about a letdown after a very emotional win (55-27 over Forest Park) last week," said Nordics' coach Joe Reddinger. "But we kept reminding the kids all week about what this game meant and they got the job done. We were ready to play."
Senior running back Dominic Christian rushed 10 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Christian's first score came on the third play from scrimmage when he broke off tackle on a 52-yard dash and a 7-0 lead.
ND - Christian, 52-yard run (O'Neil kick), 10:36
ND - Schultz, 5-yard run (O'Neil kick), 8:37
ND - Christian, 50-yard run (Pekarek to Schultz pass), 6:43
ND - Pekarek, 29-yard pass to Schultz (O'Neil kick), :10
ND - Schultz, 24-yard run (O'Neil kick), 7:34
NC - Woodraska, 40-yard run (run failed), 1:54
ND - Pekarek, 51-yard pass to Berg (O'Neil kick), :34
ND - Marshall, 5-yard run (O'Neil kick), :21
ND - Berg, 23-yard run (run failed), 1:54
North Central's first play from scrimmage didn't go nearly as well in its homecoming game, losing a fumble on its own 21-yard line.
"I think that turnover took the wind out of their sails," said Reddinger. "That took away any momentum they might have had."
The Nordics made the Jets (4-3 overall, 3-1 league) pay for that miscue as junior Matt Schultz made it 14-0 scored on a five-yard run up the middle.
"That was not a good way to start (on offense)," said Jets' coach Kevin Bellefeuil. "That gave them a short field and after they scored, it just steamrolled from there. They (Nordics) are a real good football team. They're very well coached. Their line is quick and they have real good speed. We didn't play our best game, but they certainly had a lot to do with that."
Christian, who became a 1,000-yard-plus rusher during the contest, added his second TD midway through the opening frame on a 50-yard dash off right tackle.
"Dominic has been a real leader for us the past couple years," said Reddinger. "He works hard during the off-season and in practice, and he plays hard on both sides of the ball."
The Nordics also showed on their next possession they can grind out the yardage, if needed, finishing a 75-yard drive on senior Ken Pekarek's 29-yard pass to Schultz and a 29-0 advantage with 10 seconds left in the first stanza.
Schultz then added a 24-yard TD run through the middle for a 36-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
North Central got on the board with 1:54 left in the second when sophomore running back Devin Woodraska slipped through the left side on a 40-yard run.
The Nordics quickly responded, raising the count to 43-6 on Pekarek's 51-yard aerial to senior Cody Berg 34 seconds before halftime.
"We did some good things at times," said Bellefeuil. "Then, we would miss an assignment and we'd get into a situation we couldn't handle."
Senior Montgomery Marshall made it 50-6 on a five-yard run up the middle late in the third quarter and Berg scampered 23 yards around right end for the final TD.
The Nordics, showing their outside speed, rushed for 394 yards. Junior Tim Hruska helped Christian carry the load with 73 yards in 10 attempts. Schultz added 48 on just five carries.
"We run a three-back offense, which makes it hard for other teams to key on anyone," said Reddinger.
Pekarek completed all three of his passes for 88 yards and two TDs, giving the Nordics a total of 482.
North Central was limited to 171 yards. Sophomore quarterback Rob Granquist, under constant duress, hit 6-of-16 passes for 75 yards. They had 96 yards rushing, led by Woodraska's 51 in six trips.
The Jets, still alive in the playoff hunt, must beat Bark River-Harris Friday and win at Stephenson Oct. 19 to reach the post-season.
"We have to treat every game as a playoff game," said Bellefeuil. "If we win next week, we're one step closer and if we win the final week, we're in."
The Nordics plan to take a similar approach in their regular-season finale Oct. 13 at Lake Linden-Hubbell.
"We've only had six or seven teams go undefeated in my 36 years of coaching," said Reddinger. "That's always a goal."