If first impressions count for anything on the football field, Bloomsburg made a great one against Montgomery.
On Bloomsburg's first play from scrimmage Ricky Klingerman handed the ball to Evan Ball, who bounced it past the left tackle and took it 43 yards before punching it into the end zone one play later for the game's first score in Bloomsburg's 48-21 win over Montgomery (0-5) Friday night at Montgomery.
Ball and fellow running back Sam Miller ran wild against the Red Raider defense, with Ball rushing for 82 yards on five carries while Miller had 55 yards on six carries.
"They were doubling up on John (Klingerman) all night, so we thought we could run the ball inside," said Bloomsburg (4-1)?head coach Larry Sones. "We were able to put some yardage on the ground."
The combination of Ball and Miller proved to be lethal, as the two each scored three times in the first half alone, allowing Bloomsburg to coast in the second half.
"I think it was pretty good," Ball said of the rushing attack. "It was nice to get it going with the running game and it was nice to get me and Sam some yardage."
Despite being down big in the first half, the Red Raiders came to life with just a few minutes left in the half. Two big completions from Matt Boone to Corey Kriner put Montgomery in the red zone before Boone found Kriner in the corner for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
"They have some athletes and can run some stuff that you aren't prepared for," Sones said of Montgomery's offense.
Bloomsburg's front seven stifled the Montgomery rushing attack, forcing quarterback Boone to make plays through the air. The Panthers didn't make that any easier, though, as they sacked Boone three times in the first half, often forcing Boone to escape the pocket right after the snap.
"I thought the kids reacted to the things we saw in formations," Sones said. "I thought the pressure was good."
The Panthers put up 48 first-half points, between a balanced attack on the ground and through the air. Quarterback Ricky Klingerman completed three of his four passes in the first half for 91 yards - surpassing the 1,000-yard passing mark this season - while Ball and Miller combined to rush for 137 yards and six touchdowns on 11 carries.
Now, with Montgomery out of the way, the Panthers can focus on next week's opponent, the Muncy Indians.
"We knew the first half of the season wouldn't be as hard as the second half," Ball said. "So we know we can get prepared and clean some stuff up for the second half."
After the Panthers jumped out to a big lead, Montgomery capitalized against Bloomsburg's second unit, which allowed Boone to pick up big junks of yardage with Kriner as his favorite target.
"It's a learning experience for them," Sones said of the second unit. "They are going to realize now that it's Friday night and you want to step up and play a little bit better. They are young and they will get better."