HOWLAND - On Homecoming night, De'Veon Smith and the Howland Tigers didn't want to leave anything to chance.
Howland jumped out to a 37-point lead in the first half and never looked back, beating Beaver Local 37-14 Friday night.
"It was really important to get the lead because that's a very good team," Smith said. "If we kept them in the game, we knew it was going to be a four-quarter game for us. So, we tried to take them out early that was the game plan."
Howland's offense was clicking on all cylinders from the start. On the first drive alone, the Tigers (5-1, 1-0 All-American conference, American Division) went 75 yards on two plays, with quarterback Eric Lockney finding Christopher Maze wide open along the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown pass to cap off the drive.
Lockney completed no pass shorter than 16 yards en route to 150 yards through the air in the first 24 minutes.
To add to the passing game, the rushing attack gave the Beavers (1-5, 0-3 AAC, American Division) defense no respite. Howland kept giving the ball to Smith, and he gashed them for 123 yards on 12 carries, including three touchdown runs.
Smith's second touchdown showed the futility of Beaver Local to stop the Tigers. The senior running back dragged a Beaver defender a couple of yards before shedding him and spun out of another tackle in order to go 51 yards with 10:59 remaining in the second quarter.
"I think tonight was our best first half offensive performance of the year," Howland coach Dick Angle said. "When you have a back like Smith, when you have a quarterback like Lockney and you got receivers like Maze and Brendan Cope, you can't concentrate on one thing.
"We can spread the field, we can go vertical, we can do a lot of things offensively that we showed tonight. We did a lot of versatile things. That's makes us a better football team."
After a first half in which Beaver Local didn't record a first down and gained only 38 total yards, the Beavers found their rhythm offensively early in the third quarter, although they needed a trick play to spark it.
On the Beavers' first drive, Phillip Beohm took a handoff and passed to Justin Osbourne for 49 yards. Junior running back Daniel Lattanzio punched it in two plays later to end the shutout.
Beaver Local added another touchdown with 4:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, when Trevel Thompkins scored an eight-yard touchdown, giving Beaver Local coach Jeremy McElroy something to use going forward.
"Kids stuck in there," Beaver Local coach Jeremy McElroy said. "They played the two quarters hard - that was a challenge at halftime. (The trick play) was something we just pulled out because of the situation."
Howland, meanwhile, doesn't have much time to celebrate the win. The Tigers travel to Poland next week, and Angle said to expect it to be tough.
"We've always had terrific games with Poland," he said. "It'll be a meaningful game for our league again. We're going to have to play four quarters- there's no question."