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Photos by Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Homestead’s Seth Coate uses a straight arm to break away from East Noble’s Jake Peterson in the second quarter Friday.

Spartans eliminate errors in big 2nd half

Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Homestead’s Frank Martin breaks through the East Noble defense for a first-quarter touchdown Friday.
Homestead’s Isaac Griffith pulls past East Noble’s Landan Tackett to score a second-quarter touchdown.

– First-half penalties and turnovers didn’t come close to slowing down the Homestead offense.

The Spartans put it all together in the second half and cruised to a 65-21 win over visiting East Noble in the NHC opener Friday.

“I don’t know if our effort was the crisp effort that I wanted coming out,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. “We made a few adjustments, but we basically we challenged them a little bit. Hopefully, we grew up a little bit in the third quarter.”

Homestead quarterback Matt Skowronek completed 19 of 24 passes for 299 yards and five touchdowns and ran for a touchdown.

In the first half, Skowronek threw for 139 yards and a touchdown but also had three interceptions. Also, Homestead had 10 penalties for 78 yards, but it still led 21-7 at halftime.

“Those things are correctable,” Skowronek said of the mistakes. “We just had to settle down. Our coaches got on us a little bit. Our effort might not have been there, and we corrected it in the second half. We got it going. I was just angry at myself. I missed all those throws, and I missed a couple of throws. I just had to keep my cool and come back in the second half and make my reads.”

Homestead receiver Isaac Griffith, an Indiana University recruit, caught seven passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns.

“This was a big statement for us on both sides of the ball,” Griffith said. “We did a great job of coming back in the second half and doing what we could do. We struggled in the first half, but we toned that down in the second half. We were lazy in the penalties and in the blocking, and we came out really slow. When Coach Zolman came in and talked with us (at halftime) we just had to step it up and show him what we could do.”

The Spartans scored 37 points in the third quarter to push the lead to 58-14. The backups came in at the start of the fourth.

Homestead (3-0, 1-0) lived up to the pregame billing of a shootout. The Spartans came into the game averaging 58 points. The previously unbeaten Knights (2-1, 0-1), on the other hand, didn’t fare as well as their 44 points per game took a hit.

East Noble quarterback Nic Weimer threw for 262 yards but completed only 19 of 36 and had an interception.

“They do a very good job of creating space,” Zolman said of East Noble’s offense. “They put us in some binds, but it is good for our kids to get challenged like that because we need to know what that is like.”

Zach Swarts had a touchdown catch and a blocked punt for a safety in the third for Homestead, and Frank Martin had 146 rushing yards and a 63-yard touchdown.

“That’s one for his highlight film,” Zolman said. “He takes great pride in pushing through and blocking some kicks.”