NORTON — There were stars aplenty dressed in Barberton Magics football uniforms and roaming around Norton Stadium on Friday night.
Barberton coach Tony Gotto unleashed an impressive cast of speedsters on offense, defense and special teams to earn a 34-2 victory in the 2019 season opener.
Magics senior Chase Haywood was one of the standouts, completing 12-of-15 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions — by Norton senior Alex Lester and junior Dominic Graham, both in the second quarter — that frustrated him.
“We need to correct the mistakes that we made and work to get better for next week,” Haywood said. “We had too many penalties, the interceptions and a fumble. We did do a lot of good things, too. I think our whole team has improved from last year.”
Barberton entered Friday 22-2 the past two seasons with two Suburban League American Conference titles, two 10-0 regular seasons and two Division II playoff appearances.
“They were ready to roll and they are stinking good,” Norton coach Kevin Pollock said of Barberton. “You saw in the first half, we were not laying down and we were playing physical.”
Norton senior Tyler Scott, a University of Cincinnati recruit, rushed for 45 yards on 16 carries in the first half before leaving with an injury.
Sophomore Eston Brown kicked a 40-yard field goal with 8:46 to go in the first and converted a 33-yard field goal with 3:52 on the clock to give the Magics a 6-0 edge.
Barberton’s advantage reached 14-0 with 36 seconds left in the opening quarter when Haywood threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to senior Tim Starcher and then found senior Joe Johnstone in the end zone for a 2-point conversion.
“We have been preparing for this team for quite a while now and our coaches helped us put together a nice game plan, and I feel like we executed it,” Starcher said.
Norton cut its deficit to 14-2 on a safety with 9:06 remaining in the second quarter.
Barberton bounced back and took a 28-2 halftime lead when Haywood connected with Johnstone for a 32-yard touchdown at 5:25 and found junior Charles Hornacek for a 19-yard touchdown at 1:04.
“This is my first year playing offense and I am back healthy,” Johnstone said. “We played very well.”
The Magics' advantage grew to 34-2 with 5:28 to go in the third quarter when sophomore Markim McKinnie rushed for a 1-yard touchdown.
Gotto liked what he saw from his speedsters, and also praised senior offensive linemen Scott Greenaway, Tyler Eberhart, Logan Kaisk, Connor Angeloff and Kyle Hutchison.
“We have all been working out since November,” Magics senior two-way starter Ryan Watkins said. “We are a hardworking team and we have threats all around the field.”
Starcher and Johnstone along with junior Kenyondra Turner and senior Nick Plucinski also made an impact defensively.
Michael Beaven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.