WESTMORELAND, N.Y. — When it comes to running the football, Dolgeville coach Dan Zilkowski is a firm believer in spreading the wealth, especially on a hot, sunny day.
Of course, it helps when you've got a stable of running backs and a gritty quarterback with a linebacker mentality like the fearsome foursome this year's Blue Devils have.
Together, junior quarterback Aasin Claus, and his ruggedly-built running mates — 220-pound senior Cole Harlow and juniors Devin Gorinshek and Chase Doxtader — helped Dolgeville forge a 28-0 halftime lead in Saturday's sun-drenched season opener, and the Blue Devils had little trouble grinding out a 42-21 victory over Class D East rival Westmoreland.
Claus and Harlow had two touchdown runs each and Dolgeville gained 373 of its 390 yards on the ground.
"It's hard when you've got just one guy carrying the load," Zilkowski said. "With that hot sun, the more you can distribute the ball, the better off you're going to be."
Claus, last year's starting quarterback as a sophomore, rushed for 96 yards on 15 carries before leaving the game with an ankle injury. He had to be helped off the bench by two teammates as he hobbled over to Dolgeville's post-game huddle, but Zilkowski didn't seem too concerned.
"He'll be all right; we're just being real proactive," Zilkowski said. "He just got it stepped on. He'll be fine."
Doxtader, Little Falls' leading rusher as a sophomore last season, ran for 91 yards on nine carries in his Dolgeville debut, including a 38-yard touchdown scamper on the final play of the first half. Harlow barreled for 82 yards on 19 carries and Gorinshek, also a standout at linebacker, added 71 yards on six carries.
Backup quarterback Riley Nagle scored Dolgeville's other touchdown on a nine-yard run in the fourth quarter.
"Just one back is not going to do it, that showed today," Harlow said. "Up front we did very well. ... And (Claus) is a tough kid. I know he'll push through it and try to get back as quickly as possible."
Led up front by linemen Hunter Barnes, Justin Kopet, Dylan Walrath, Jacob Darling and Charles Harshbarger and tight end Nic Bailey, Dolgeville controlled the line of scrimmage and the football for most of the first half. The Blue Devils scored three times in the final 4:13, including short touchdown runs by Claus and Harlow, the latter with just 33 seconds remaining.
Gorinshek then intercepted new Westmoreland quarterback Colin DeBiase's screen pass on the next play from scrimmage, and two plays later Doxtader swept left and scored as time expired.
"They were selling out, sending eight guys and we just caught them with the jet, and in the open field Chase is tough to catch," Zilkowski said.
Westmoreland senior co-captain and fullback Noah Bowen, a converted lineman, scored all three of his team's second-half touchdowns and finished with 67 yards on eight carries. He ran for two scores just 66 seconds apart - the second set up by Joe Schreck's fumble recovery - made 12 tackles, and returned a fumble for another score with 1:05 left to play. Jacob Crandall had 11 tackles for the Bulldogs, but Dolgeville's defense limited them to 138 total yards.
Defensive end Nic Bailey had two of Dolgeville's four sacks; Doxtader and freshman Dylan Lamphere had the others.
"We had a hard time stopping their off-tackle stuff and we never got any offense going," Westmoreland coach Tim Gates said. "We were on defense all the time. ... And Dolgeville's in the shotgun now, so the quarterback's involved more and that's just another element. That makes the defense account for another guy and it's a tough scheme.
"We came out in the second half and showed some spark. We executed some things and Crandall ran the ball well, but a lot of our inexperience in the backfield showed. There's a lot to learn in our offense, but we're going to get better."
DOLGEVILLE 42, WESTMORELAND 21
Dolgeville 8 20 6 8 — 42
Westmoreland 0 0 14 7 — 21
DOL — Aasin Claus 6 run (Cole Harlow run).
DOL — Claus 2 run (run failed).
DOL — Harlow 2 run (run failed).
DOL — Chase Doxtader 38 run (Claus run).
WESTMO — Noah Bowen 9 run (Dawson Cook kick).
WESTMO — Bowen 1 run (Cook kick).
DOL — Harlow 1 run (run failed).
DOL — Riley Nagle 9 run (Doxtader pass from Nagle).
WESTMO — Bowen 29 fumble return (Cook kick).
Records — Dolgeville 1-0; Westmoreland 0-1.