Making his return from a second season-ending injury, quarterback Grant Adler couldn't have asked for a much better star to his senior year.
The Derby senior totaled five first-half touchdowns, including three on the ground, to pace Derby in its 48-19 season-opening win at Garden City. That performance came with 168 yards rushing on just 10 carries. He also completed 7-of-11 passes for 92 yards.
“It was very hard for me to sit on the sidelines,” Adler said. “I’ve played with these guys since I’ve been in first grade. I hated being on the sideline, but now I get to be back out there. It’s a lot of fun and we’re getting the job done.”
Adler connected with senior Tre Washington on both touchdown passes. The running back added one score on the ground and one additional touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Derby scored on its game-opening drive, using just over 90 seconds to take an early 7-0 lead.
On its second drive, Derby’s senior quarterback had a 77-yard touchdown negated two plays into the drive by a holding call. A fumble came on the ensuing play, but after stopping Garden City on fourth down, Adler scampered through the middle of the opposing defense for an 81-yard score..
“It’s always a great feeling [seeing green in front of you],” Adler said. “I can’t take any credit, though. I was barely touched because our offensive line might be the best in the state.”
After Derby’s first touchdown pass of the night, senior defensive back Brecken Kooser intercepted quarterback Carlos Acosta on the Garden City sideline with 7:07 remaining in the first half.
Senior wide receiver Jacob Karsak brought a 29-yard pass from Adler to the two-yard line, leading to Washington’s lone touchdown run and a 34-0 Derby lead.
Looking to break 34 unanswered points ahead of halftime, Acosta was intercepted a second time at the Derby goal line by safety Tanner Knox.
The junior was the beneficiary of a reworked scheme last fall and it’s paying off as he’s starting once again in 2019.
“We lost a lot of guys from last year, but we’ve always had a connection [as a defense] and we’re going hard in practice,” Knox said. “We’re getting our reads and making plays.”
Adler connected on his fifth and final touchdown on the ensuing drive, finding Washington for a six-yard score.
“He did a fantastic job,” Clark said of Adler. “He ran the ball hard and made his reads right. A lot of the passes that were incompletions were drops. He dropped some deep balls in [tight spots] and he played a really good first game. I was really proud of him.”
Derby was a missed PAT away from matching last year’s halftime score against Garden City, taking a 41-0 lead into the locker room.
The Buffaloes ate 5:58 of game time on their opening drive of the second half, but stalled at the Derby 28-yard line.
Keeping its starters on the field for one final drive, junior quarterback Lem Wash converted on a 4th-and-15 to find Washington for a 34-yard score.
DRBY: 13 28 7 0— 48
GRCY: 0 0 6 13— 19
D: Adler 9-yard run (Simmons kick)…. 7-0
D: Adler 6-yard run (PAT missed)… 13-0
D: Adler 81-yard run (Simmons kick)… 20-0
D: Washington 21-yard pass from Adler (Simmons kick)… 27-0
D: Washington 2-yard run (Simmons kick)… 34-0
D: Washington 5-yard pass from Adler (Simmons kick)… 41-0
D: Washington 34-yard pass from Wash (Simmons kick)… 48-0
GC: 85-yard fumble return (PAT missed)… 48-6
GC: Dominguez 24-yard pass from Acosta (PAT good)… 48-13
GC: Durst 3-yard run (PAT missed)… 48-19
DERBY TEAM STATISTICS—
Passing: Adler, 7-11-92-2; Wash, 3-6-65-1; Hamblin, 1-1-(-5)
Rushing: Adler, 10-168-3; Wash, 6-77; Washington, 6-52-1; Edwards, 4-26; Bryant, 1-23, Hamblin, 1-(-8)
Receiving: Washington, 5-84-3; Liston, 2-31; Karsak, 1-30; Walker, 2-12
GARDEN CITY TEAM STATISTICS:
Passing: Acosta, 15-27-172-1-2
Rushing: Janus, 14-34-1; Acosta, 15-27; Dominguez, 8-9
Receiving: Mejia, 5-107; Stabel, 4-33; Dominguez, 3-22-1; Gomez, 2-9; Durst, 1-1