Hoffman helps lead Big Reds to big win
He passed for 207 yards and two TDs as West Middlesex routed Neshannock.
By RICK ELIA
NEW CASTLE -- The West Middlesex High football team has been called a squad to watch in the District 10 Class A ranks this season.
For at least last night, they were quite an eyeful.
The Big Reds dominated in all phases of the game as they handled Neshannock High, 34-0, on the Lancers' field in the season opener for both clubs.
The focal point of a potent West Middlesex offense was quarterback Kolten Hoffman, who connected on 13-of-18 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the Big Reds in rushing with 50 yards and a score on 12 carries.
West Middlesex scored on its first three possessions en route to the rout.
"I was very happy with the way they came out of the locker room tonight and the way they executed," Big Reds coach Brian Hoffman said. "We seemed to be able to run the ball and pass the ball effectively. I was definitely pleased with that.
"The second half, it was kind of a sloppy football game as far as I'm concerned. A lot of penalties. It's not a matter of effort. It's a matter of execution."
Brian Hoffman is a former Hubbard High player who was a member of Youngstown State's 1993 national championship team and its runner-up squad in 1992. While he and his quarterback share the same surname, they are not related.
The Big Reds operated almost exclusively out of a shotgun formation.
"Basically, it's been our philosophy to try to design the offense around the quarterback, and we have a good one," Brian Hoffman said. "It just gives him a chance to make plays both through the air and on the ground."
"I threw the ball pretty well tonight," Kolten Hoffman said. "You always get scared the first game of the year. You don't know how you're going to come out, but we came out with our first possession and made a statement. Our offensive line did a wonderful job tonight. Our receivers ran great routes and caught the ball for the most part."
Not to be lost among all the offensive fireworks was a standout performance by the West Middlesex defense, which pitched a shutout while holding the Lancers to 108 total yards.
For Neshannock, which was without two-way starter J.T. Graham (tailback-cornerback) due to a fractured foot suffered in practice Wednesday, it's back to the drawing board.
"We didn't execute," Lancers' coach Rob Nogay said. "In the second half we played a little bit better on both sides of the ball, but we just didn't come out and execute in the beginning.
"We have a lot of stuff we need to correct. We didn't tackle tonight. We didn't block. We've got to get back to the basics with blocking and tackling. It's almost like you've got to start from scratch."
Hoffman's touchdown passes covered 16 yards to Chachi Ruffo and 25 yards to Josh Brown. Hoffman scored on a 4-yard bootleg, while Steve Andrusky tallied on runs of 9 and 1 yard.
Lucas Allen had 82 yards on four catches for West Middlesex, while Tyler Barris added 72 yards on three grabs.
John DeVite led the Neshannock ground game with 40 yards on eight carries.