TRAVERSE CITY — Tom Passinault saw improvement Thursday night.
But there’s more work to be done, the Traverse City Central football coach said after a 28-7 non-league win over Escanaba in the home opener at Thirlby Field.
“Early in the season, anytime you can win a ballgame it’s a good feeling,” Passinault said. “You’re always going to have mistakes early in the season and it’s a lot more fun to work on your mistakes after a victory.
“I’m proud of the boys. We’re growing up every week. But we know we’ve got to play a lot better to win next week.”
That’s when the Trojans, now 1-1, will face crosstown rival Traverse City West.
Junior Ethan Campbell rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns to spark Central past the Eskymos. He scored on runs of 19, 10 and 36 yards. Junior quarterback Sean Williams enjoyed an efficient night passing the ball, completing 12 of 15 passes for 120 yards and a score.
“Sean Williams is growing up,” Passinault said. “He’s throwing the ball well. We protected the passer and then we got Campbell loose. He’s a good, elusive back. He’s as fast sideways as he is straight ahead. He’s a tremendous back.”
Campbell broke the game open with a pair of touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.
“Our line really got their roles down,” Campbell said. “We started blocking great and the holes opened. I just ran through them.”
The defense, torched through the air last week at Marquette, surrendered a 48-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the first half. Other than that, the Trojans contained Escanaba, limiting the Eskymos to 42 yards in offense the second half.
“We tried not to let it get to us,” inside linebacker Josiah Lopez-Wild said of the Escanaba scoring pass. “We thought, ‘we’ve got this game under control, we’ve got to put it behind us and get back on the field and do what we do.’”