CLAREMONT – Newton-Conover High stung Bunker Hill again on Friday night in a debut game for both head football coaches in a Catawba County rivalry game.
The Red Devils scored early and often, opening a 49-point by halftime, to hand new head coach Steven Pack a victory in his debut and deal Patrick Clark a loss in his debut as the Bears’ new skipper.
Clark came to Bunker Hill from an assistant coaching role at Maiden, replacing David Haynie who retired after two seasons as the Bears’ head coach.
With new starting quarterback Justice Craig connecting on all 10 of his passes for nearly 175 yards and three scores, the Red Devils (1-0) rolled to more than 430 yards of total offense.
Newton-Conover beat the Bears (0-1) for the fifth straight year and 17th time in 19 seasons, opening a three TD lead in the first quarter.
Craig threw 75 yards to Brandon Johnson for a score less than three minutes into the game, hit Josh Nichols for a 12-yard TD about two minutes later and it was 21-0 after Kyjuan McClain took a punt back 63 yards for a score.
The Red Devils held the Bears to fewer than 125 yards.
Newton-Conover is coming off a nine-win season while the Bears continue to try to rebuild (they are now 2-21 in their last 23 games and 4-41 since 2014).
The Red Devils are idle on Friday and play Aug. 31 against Hickory at Gurley Stadium.
Bunker Hill, 1-10 last season, renews its rivalry with St. Stephens (0-1) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Hickory.
Newton-Conover won its season-opening game for the fifth straight season after having lost the opener (to East Lincoln twice, then to Chase) in the three seasons before that … The Bears have lost five straight season openers, one to Cherryville, two to North Stanly and now twice to the Red Devils… Bunker Hill’s opener for 19 years, starting in 1996, was against Cherryville … Pack joined former Red Devils head coach Matt Beam in winning a Newton-Conover debut – Beam won his in 2014 at Chase, 29-0, when Blake Roberts ran for two short yardage TDs; former Red Devils head coach Nick Bazzle did not win his first game as head coach in 1999, falling 14-12 at Maiden when Blue Devils quarterback Grant Rembert threw for 128 yards and a TD and ran for a TD.
OBSERVER NEWS ENTERPRISE SPORTS EDITOR MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER’S POSTGAME INTERVIEW WITH PACK: https://www.facebook.com/TheObserverNewsEnterprise/videos/727110434295717/