DOVER - There is always a little bit of uncertainty heading into a season opener.
So while they felt well prepared and excited, the Western Boone football team knew they had to play well to beat Sheridan to kick off their season.
They did just that, scoring on four of their six first half drives and cruising to a 35-16 win over the Blackhawks.
"You never know how the first one is going to go," Western Boone head coach Justin Pelley said. "We played 15 games in 2020 and won a state championship, and these guys beat us. All we can control is how we prepare, and you never know how it will go until you kick off. Our kids showed up, played well, we spread the ball around and it was a good night."
WeBo drove down to the Sheridan 37 on its opening drive, but turned it over on downs.
But the defense forced a three-and-out, and on the ensuing punt, Mason Tomes returned it to the Sheridan 9 yard line. One play later Cannon Brunes rumbled into the end zone to give Western Boone a 7-0 lead after the extra point.
The punt returned seemed to be a huge spark for the Stars, who scored on four of their final five drives on the half.
"Any time you get a bunch of kids who haven't played much varsity before, there are butterflies and they are nervous," Pelley said. "They usually settle down after a drive or two, but that punt return really helped. We moved the ball on the first drive and didn't convert, and I think we found out that it we were going to have to play, and we got a good spark."
WeBo made it 15-0 when Brandon Potter found Philip Talbott for a 62-yard touchdown with 3:02 left in the first half. Talbott added a two-point conversion after picking up a bad snap on the extra point.
WeBo gave up a safety on its next drive after snapping it through the end zone on a punt, but that did little to deter them.
Tomes added a 7-yard touchdown run to make it 22-2, and after a Sheridan punt, the Stars went 63 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 14-yard pass from Potter to Marcus Fortner.
The Stars played their reserves most of the second half, with Kylde McKeighan scoring on a 31 yard run to make it 35-2.
"We have a lot of kids that it depends where we are on the field on who is going to get the ball," Pelley said. "We don't have to switch people around, and that's pretty good. When you can do that, you can force them to play the whole field and that makes you tough offensively."
Potter was 8 of 15 for 139 yards and two scores.
Brunes had 10 carries for 87 yards.
Sheridan added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The Stars will travel to Western next Friday, looking to start 2-0 for the second-straight season.
Pelley said the team knows they have to fix some things heading into a match-up with the Panthers.
"It doesn't matter if it's 40 degrees of 140 degrees, everyone cramps on the first night, so we have to figure that out," Pelley said. "We need our guys, because they got some size next week. We have to move the chains, keep the ball on the ground but when we throw be efficient. We have to take what it is there for us."
Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.