MASCOUTAH — It was a different type of game than the one that started the 2012 season, but the results were equally positive for the Mascoutah football team.
The host Indians used a solid running game and a stingy defense to beat Central 23-8 in the opening game for both teams. Because of the heat, the starting time was pushed back from 7 p.m. to 7:30.
"The kids came out and were physical on defense, and once we found our groove, they were physical on offense," said Mascoutah coach Scott Battas, whose team beat Central 55-26 last year.
A 17-yard run by Tim Parks and a 22-yard run by Misieki Thompson set up Mascoutah's first touchdown, a 1-yard run by Thompson with 7:35 remaining in the second quarter.
A 30-yard field goal by Alex Blakely on the final play of the quarter gave the Indians a 10-0 halftime lead.
With 6:20 left in the third quarter, Mascoutah boosted its lead to 16-0 on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Parks to Mike Biekert. The extra-point attempt by Blakely was no good.
"We made a commitment in the offseason to the running game," Battas said. "We knew we weren't going to be quite as explosive in several spots. We do have some explosive players, more so we have some physical players that make the defense collapse a little bit.
"As the season goes on, we'll be able to open up. (Parks) did a good job at quarterback tonight and managed the game well."
Late in the fourth quarter, Central drove to the Mascoutah 10, but Josh Dunning's fourth-down pass to Jacob Timmerman was broken up in the end zone.
Mascoutah boosted its lead to 23-0 with 3:09 remaining on a 6-yard run by Thomsen.
A 49-yard pass from Dunning to Dalton Smith set up Central's lone touchdown, a 4-yard run by Cody Frohn with 15 seconds remaining. Dunning added a two-point conversion pass to Timmermann.