The start was inauspicious to say the least, but it quickly faded away.
The Central DeWitt football team, however, did not.
The Sabers answered an early Center Point-Urbana touchdown Friday with 14 quick points and limited the Stormin’ Pointers to just 200 yards of total offense to start their season on a winning note with a 20-10 victory.
Central faced its first taste of adversity early.
The Sabers opened the game with a ball, but then moved backward due to a penalty and had its resulting punt blocked, giving the Pointers great field position on the Central 16-yard line.
And it took the visitors just two plays to find the end zone. The touchdown, coupled with an extra point, put the Sabers in a 7-0 hole just over two minutes into the game.
The Sabers’ answer, though, arrived even faster.
After a pair of runs, junior quarterback Henry Bloom went deep. The ball stayed out of reach of a leaping defender and fell into the arms of senior Caleb Pace, who found nothing but open field ahead of him for a 61-yard touchdown.
Landon Peterson added the extra point to draw Central even just 80 seconds after it fell behind.
The momentum stayed with the Sabers on the Pointers’ subsequent drive as Center Point-Urbana lost six yards and its punt netted just 18 yards.
Starting on their opponent’s side of the field, the Sabers were in danger of wasting the strong field position as a penalty created a 3rd-and-17.
Bloom, though, scrambled away from pressure and lofted a pass into the end zone that senior Logan Paulsen was able to grab, while also staying in bounds, for a 27-yard touchdown.
Peterson again added the extra point and now the Sabers led, 14-7.
The Central defense made sure the lead never disappeared.
Center Point-Urbana’s final five drives of the first half ended the same way — with punts.
A fumble and a punt slowed the Sabers’ momentum, but the hosts did add to their lead before halftime.
Starting on its own 28, Central drove all the way to the Pointers’ six — senior Tucker Kinney picked up a big third down with a 22-yard reception, while Zach Hinkle picked up 22 yards on the ground — leading to a 24-yard field goal for Peterson.
The kick was good and Central brought a 17-7 into the half.
After a pair of nine-play drives that came up empty — the Pointers’ punted for a sixth straight time, the Sabers turned the ball over on downs — Center Point-Urbana threatened to eat into the Sabers’ lead.
In fact, the Pointers had a first-and-goal at the Central one-yard line.
A first-down run, though, lost a yard, while another run on second ended with a three-yard loss. A third-down pass, meanwhile, fell incomplete, forcing Center Point-Urbana to settle for a 22-yard field goal that kept the Sabers up a touchdown.
The Central defense did the rest. It forced a three-and-out on the Pointers’ next drive, while senior Ethan Pierce ended the visitors’ final chance with an interception.
By that time, the lead had grown back to 10.
Using 32 total yards from Hinkle — 25 on the ground and a seven-yard pass from senior Johnny Samora, who took over for Bloom behind center after an injury in the third quarter — the Sabers moved the ball inside Center Point-Urbana territory and Peterson booted a 35-yard field goal to create the final 20-10 score.
Bloom completed seven of his 12 attempts for 164 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 38 yards on the ground.
Samora added two completions of his own for 21 yards and the Sabers threw for 185 yards — something they did just once a year ago.
Hinkle paced the Sabers on the ground with 75 yards, while Pace added 37 yards to go with his 75 yards and touchdown through the air.
Paulsen hauled in a team-high four passes for 76 yards and his own touchdown, while Hinkle and Kinney also had receptions.
Pierce was busy on the defensive side of the ball, coming up with a team-high 11 tackles — seven of them solo and two for loss — to go with his interception.
Fellow senior Matthew Roling added nine tackles, while junior Connor Scheer had six and Pace five.
Pace also joined Pierce with two tackles for loss, while Hinkle came up with a sack.
After opening the season at home, the Sabers will make their first road trip for a rivalry showdown with Maquoketa.
The Cardinals also opened their season with a victory, knocking off Anamosa, 42-21.
Central will be looking for its third straight victory against Maquoketa and its first at Goodenow Field since 2012.