Notre Dame on paper was the better team, and being on the road made no difference as the Fighting Irish beat Silverdale Baptist Academy 58-0 in a Division II-AA East football game Friday night.
Coach Charles Fant's team utterly smothered the Seahawks all night, outgaining them 440 yards to minus-17. Silverdale (2-5, 0-3) had difficulty just reaching the line of scrimmage most of the game.
"Our defense has been practicing really, really hard," Fant said. "We always look at our weeks of practice, and we wanted to make sure this week we were going to be about the details. And Coach (Curt) Jones does an incredible job with our defense. All year they've played lights-out.
"Our defense is making teams sort of play different styles of offenses against us. Any time you get other teams to play a little bit different than what they normally do, it's usually to your advantage. I just really like how hard they are running to the football, and Coach has them in the right positions."
Fant also praised the overall effort from the Irish (6-1, 4-0).
"It's just about our team's camaraderie. I mean, they really love each other," he said. "A lot of times teams don't really jell, but I really think this team has great chemistry. Each week I just see them getting a little closer."
Junior wide receiver and defensive back Trea Johnson scored a 30-yard touchdown on his only carry of the game, intercepted two passes and returned a recovered fumble 10 yards for another TD.
"That's the kind of game we've been waiting on from Trea," Fant said. "Trea is real gritty; he grinds. He's one of those kids that's always around the football. He's a tough kid. So eventually when those kids keep doing what they do each time, you'll have a game like that.
"We're just thrilled to death of the type of game that he has, and I think that's probably elevated him in a lot of these college football guy's eyes, too."
Sophomore quarterback Landon Allen was forced to leave the game in the second quarter after converting a fourth-and-17 play by scrambling for a 19-yard gain. He was replaced by senior T.J. McGhee. Allen was 3-of-4 passing for 95 yards, including a 44-yard TD pass on a screen to Tarik Nelson for the first score of the game, and had three carries for 22 yards. McGhee was 4-of-8 for 84 passing yards, including a 46-yard scoring play to Nolan Corbit.
Fant said Allen "got a shot on his ankle. We're going to evaluate him. We don't know how bad it is yet."
The Irish travel to Grace Christian in Knoxville next week, "and then we're on our break," Fant said. "Any time that happens, you're worried about the kids staying up too late and not really taking care of their bodies well. That's going to be the issue for us. Grace Christian is going to throw the ball almost every other play, so we're going to be ready for them."
Contact Thomas Black at firstname.lastname@example.org