After four tough nonconference football games to open the season, Charlotte Catholic opened SoMeck 8 4A play with an easy 35-17 win over Berry at Keffer Stadium Friday.
The Cougars (3-2, 1-0), tied for 12th in the Observer Sweet 16, were coming out of a bye week after starting the season with wins over rival Charlotte Country Day and Gonzaga (D.C.) and losses to two nationally ranked teams, Mallard Creek and Northwestern.
“We got that bad taste out of our mouth from the last game (Mallard Creek),” senior running back Elijah Hood said. “We came out and did what we needed to do and got a good win today.”
Hood, who struggled to get 102 yards in the Cougars’ game against Mallard Creek, gained 103 yards on 10 carries, all in the first half against Berry (1-4, 0-1). He also forced a fumble on defense to prevent a Berry touchdown in the first quarter.
Hood scored from 37 yards out on his first carry of the game to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
Junior running back Clay Lozzi scored on a 52-yard run later in the first quarter to give Catholic a 14-0 lead.
Charlotte Catholic junior quarterback Ryan Miller was 4 of 4 for 78 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Pumneo early in the second quarter. Miller came into the game with just five completions for 80 yards.
“It felt good to get back into the rhythm of everything and just have fun and play football,” Miller said. “It’s very important to get in the passing game because it will open up the holes for Elijah.”
Hood gave the Cougars a 28-0 lead with 3 minutes, 13 seconds left in the first half on a 6-yard run.
Berry’s lone score of the first half came on a 26-yard field goal by Daniel Best with 24 seconds left in the half. Catholic took a 28-3 lead into halftime.
Senior Drew Tomsho had Catholic’s only score of the second half on a 60-yard run just 14 seconds into the third quarter.
Berry’s two touchdowns came in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Omar Baker scored on a 1-yard run and then also connected with receiver Curtis Williams for a 31-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute left in the game.
Williams finished the game 24 of 41 with 332 yards passing, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Charlotte Catholic coach Jim Oddo said he was proud of how his team opened conference play, especially with the number of injured players unable to play. Oddo counted at least 10 players out, including several offensive linemen.
“The young kids came through,” he said. “They surprised me. They did better than I thought they could.”
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less