MERIDIAN — Konar Witkowski's three-touchdown game and big plays on defense and special teams propelled the Cato-Meridian football team to a season-opening 31-14 win over Herkimer Friday night.
After the Blue Devils recovered a fumble on the Magicians' first play from scrimmage, the offense capitalized. Witkowski capped off a six-play drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Ramacus to give the Blue Devils a 6-0 lead.
A blocked punt by Trevor Lunkenheimer set up the Blue Devils' second scoring drive. With a short field, the Blue Devils drove 31 yards in seven plays. Running back Ethan Divelbliss scored on a 5-yard run to put the Blue Devils up by two scores.
The Blue Devils went up 18-0 early in the second quarter on Witkowski's 23-yard touchdown run. The key play of the drive came when Witkowski connected with Ramacus for a 21-yard gain. Ramacus made a diving catch to keep the drive alive.
Herkimer quarterback Jordan Foote had a touchdown run late in the second quarter, and the Blue Devils led 18-6 at the half.
With the ball to start the second half, the Blue Devils relied on their running game. The 14-play, 73-yard drive featured 13 runs. Ramacus had a 26-yard catch along the sideline that set up Witkowski's 10-yard touchdown run.
Witkowski wasn't done making plays. The highlight of the game came when he lowered his shoulder to break one tackle and slipped away from a few more tacklers for a 31-yard gain. A few plays later, Isiah Swann scored on a 7-yard run to give the Blue Devils a 31-6 lead.
Herkimer scored a late touchdown, but the Blue Devils ran out the clock to seal the victory.
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"It was a nice win against a good team in Herkimer," Blue Devils coach CJ Hannon said. "We were able to put some drives together early in the second half that allowed us to stretch the lead and we were able to take it home from there."
The team's best player was Witkowski, who finished with 199 total yards and three touchdowns — one passing and two rushing.
"He was a monster," Hannon said. "He did so many great things for us tonight."
Hannon also praised Ramacus, who finished with five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Divelbliss added 60 yards on the ground.
The effort on defense and special teams helped, too. The Blue Devils forced four turnovers and blocked a punt.
"That really helped to get us off to a good start early on," Hannon said. "We did a nice job on the defensive side of the ball and we were really, really good tonight."
Cato-Meridian's next game is at Port Byron/Union Springs Friday, Sept. 13.