MOUNDSVILLE - With the two coaching staffs knowing each other the way they did Friday night when Cambridge and John Marshall met at Monarch Stadium, it came down to which team executed better. It was clear which team that was.
No matter the side of the ball, Cambridge got a big play when it needed one. The Bobcats received a 25-carry, 237-yard, three-touchdown performance from senior Dillon Sunnafrank and the defense turned away John Marshall three times inside the 10 as they sent the Monarchs (0-1) to their 11th consecutive loss dating to last year, 39-7.
It marks the first victory as a head coach for Cambridge's Kevin Gunn.
Jeremiah Fromhart (6) gets sacked by Cambridge’s Ayden Howell during Friday’s contest at Monarch Field. The Bobcats won, 39-7.
''I told the kids 'I don't care how we get it done, our goal is to be 1-0.' We'll take it,'' he said. ''Everything that we need to correct is correctable.''
To the naked eye, there wasn't much the Bobcats (1-0) needed to fix. Sunnafrank opened the scoring with a 97-yard touchdown run, Ivan Gadson juked his way around a host of Monarchs and down the sideline for an 80-yard punt return just before the half, and Cambridge scored two plays into the third quarter en route to a 27-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the defense was more than holding its own.
''We've got to get back to the drawing board and when we get in those situations, we've got to be able to finish the drives,'' first-year John Marshall coach Rick Goodrich said. ''We score and eliminate big plays - 97-yard touchdown run, a punt return ... .
''The measuring sticks we looked at, is the kids didn't quit and they played hard. That's all I really can say.''
The Monarchs also had difficulty getting off the field on third down. In the first half alone, they allowed the Bobcats to convert third downs of 7, 9 and 13 yards.
''It was a good gut check,'' Gunn said. ''You have to make every play count and every play is important. Once again they stepped up. They're believing in what we're trying to get across.''
J.D. Demkowicz hauled in a 21-yard touchdown from Caleb Tingle midway through the third before John Marshall scored its lone touchdown. After a bad snap on a punt ended with the Monarchs getting the ball at the Cambridge 1, Jeremiah Fromhart, who struggled to a 7-for-28 performance passing (he had several dropped) for 101 yards, sneaked the ball into the end zone as time expired in the third.
The Bobcats, who rushed for 334 yards on 50 carries, put the finishing touches on things when Sunnafrank scored from the 1 almost halfway through the fourth.
''He dedicated himself in the weight room,'' Gunn said of Sunnafrank, who prior to Friday was best known for his sprinting ability on the track. ''He was playing baseball and I would get a call at 8:30 at night. 'Coach, I am leaving New Philly right now, can you open up the weight room?
''I'd go to the weight room and we'd be there until 9:30.
''It's a tribute to his hard work and he deserves that opportunity.''
The Monarchs were limited to 155 yards of offense, including 54 on the ground. Kibert, who is expected to carry the load this season, had 37 yards on 13 carries.
''Well then we've got to do a better job coaching and get him into space more,'' Goodrich said. ''We've got to adjust our offense to the talent we have. We're learning right now that we might not be able to pound the ball. Maybe we have to work on more quick stuff.
''We said we were a work in progress. Our kids played hard and they didn't quit.
''We'll find out a little more each day. I'm disappointed with the loss, but I'm encouraged with the way the kids participated and competed.''