MIDDLETOWN — From zero to 43.
That’s where the Platt Panthers went on the scoreboard as they bounced back from their opening-night shutout loss and took out their aggression on Middletown in a 43-7 CCC victory Friday night at Skubel-Rosek Stadium.
Sophomore running back Amari Robinson was the offensive star of the day, collecting 127 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
“I was just pounding the ball, trying to get as much as I can,” Robinson said. “The lanes opened up, my linemen were blocking, we were able to get it done.”
Platt dominated Middletown on both sides of the ball in the first half. The rushing attack ruled for the Panthers, but it was a multi-player effort. Robinson was the most effective with his touches, compiling 75 yards on nine touches in the first two quarters before adding a 52-yard touchdown in the second half.
Senior running backs Zyair Coleman and Corey Ford also saw touches out of the backfield for Platt. The former rushed seven times for 50 yards and two touchdowns, and the latter had six totes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
“We have three (running backs), and they probably all could start anywhere they go,” Platt head coach Jason Bruenn said.
Even though Robinson was kept off the scoreboard in the first half on the offensive side, he got his share of the points on the board with a fumble forced and recovered for a touchdown after Middletown had advanced deep into the red zone.
Middletown running back Shaun Gaskins carried on an off-tackle run to the left, but Robinson, playing outside linebacker, met him at the 2-yard line and ripped the ball right out of his hands.
Robinson galloped 98 yards for the touchdown without the ball ever touching the ground in the exchang, turning a would-be Middletown score into an extra six points for Platt.
That fumble recovery made it 27-0 only seconds before the halftime buzzer rang.
Platt quarterback Avery Robinson struggled, only throwing three completions on nine attempts with an interception and a touchdown pass. But based on the success of the running game, Platt moved away from the air attack.
“I would’ve liked to throw the ball more early, but they were doing some things that opened up the run,” Bruenn said.
Middletown had trouble controlling the line of scrimmage, especially in the face of pressure. Platt safety Antwone Santiago had three sacks, which added up to a loss of 44 yards.
On a couple of plays, Middletown quarterback Colin Skene was able to find his hot route when Platt brought the blitz, which was frequent. But more often than not, Skene tried to make too much out of the play when he had to escape the pocket, and it cost the Blue Dragons multiple drives.
Middletown got on the board in garbage time courtesy of running back David De’Leon, who housed a 68-yard counter to the left and beat everyone down the sideline.
But that was all the Blue Dragons could muster, and not long after their first touchdown of the day Platt ran out the clock to improve to 1-1 while knocking the home team to 0-2.
“We played fast tonight, and I was very happy with that,” Bruenn said.