HUMBLE — New Caney just keeps on rolling.
The Eagles produced another dominant performance on Saturday evening with a 41-0 victory over Kingwood Park in District 9-5A (Div. I) action at Turner Stadium.
New Caney (7-0, 4-0) came into the weekend ranked No. 4 in the Houston-area media poll. The Eagles took care of business to keep their flawless record intact and keep pace with crosstown rival Porter for first place in the standings.
The Panthers (3-4, 2-2) saw their two-game winning streak snapped with the loss. Kingwood Park is now tied for third place in the district with Port Arthur Memorial.
“I was really concerned coming into this week because we were out of school,” New Caney coach Brady Pennington said. “You’re talking about changing up your whole schedule. I was really proud of them. They showed up ready to go, we worked out in the mornings, and I’m really proud of them for getting there. We had a great week of preparation. That’s what we’re hanging our hat on right now, and our kids understand that. It really, truly isn’t about who we’re playing. It’s just an opportunity for us to get better. Our goal is to be playing our best ball at the end of the year.”
The Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from quarterback Zion Childress. The senior signal-caller reached paydirt on runs of 17 and 16 yards, respectively, and finished the first half with 119 yards on just eight carries. New Caney had 252 yards rushing over the first two quarters, averaging 13 per attempt.
The Eagles went ahead by three scores with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter as C.J. Sanders found the end zone on a 7-yard run. Sanders had 62 yards rushing in the first half.
Kingwood Park had two big plays of 34 and 40 yards but produced just 32 aside from that. The Panthers had trouble sustaining drives, and their only decent chance at points fell short on a 45-yard field goal attempt with five minutes to play.
“We just had a little disarray with the (defensive) personnel (earlier this season),” Pennington said. “Now that we’ve kind of got our personnel situated, we’re getting better, and that shows every game. We’re making strides on the defensive side. Those first couple games, we were just not gelling. We weren’t running our defense, basically. It takes time, and we’ve got a lot of new kids on defense in some key areas. Right now, they’re really starting to get it figured out.”
Sanders extended the Eagles’ lead to 28-0 midway through the third quarter, reaching the end zone on a 15-yard run. The score was set up by an interception from Kenny Williams at the New Caney 21-yard line. Sanders then collected his third touchdown of the night on the next possession with a 19-yard run up the middle.
Sanders finished the game with a team-high 153 yards on 13 carries. He also had three catches for 40 yards. He and Anthony Robles made a nice 1-2 punch as the latter rushed for 71 yards on just four attempts.
“He’s a special player,” Pennington said of Sanders. “He gets quite a few reps on defense, too, and we’ve got him at two different spots on defense. He’s a really savvy football player, so that enables us to move him around. I’m really proud of Anthony Robles tonight, too. Anthony started for me his freshman year at running back because that’s where I needed him. He’s been a great running back for us this whole time. Right now, our need is for him to be at linebacker. So he’s our starting linebacker and rotating on the offensive side and really giving us some positive things there.”
The Eagles capped the scoring in the fourth quarter when Childress connected with Phil McDaniel for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Derrick Harris Jr. provided one more highlight late in the game with a blocked punt.
Childress finished with 131 rushing yards on 10 attempts and also passed for 163. Jordan Bozenski led the team with five catches and 57 receiving yards, and McDaniel had three catches for 33 yards.
New Caney returns to action at 7 p.m. next Friday against Houston Austin at Randall Reed Stadium. Kingwood Park will travel to play Port Arthur Memorial at the same time that night.