The Van Buren Pointers had a shiny new offense to go with their shiny new helmets on Tuesday night.
Van Buren scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and never trailed in the Battle of the Bone and beating Alma for the first time since 2010 with a 48-33 win at Citizens Bank Field at Airedale Stadium.
The win opened the Casey Dick era for the Pointers as Dick became the first Van Buren head coach to beat Alma in his first try since Dennis Pendergrass in 1997, third since Rex Yerby in 1971 and just the fourth since Clair Bates in 1946.
The win snapped a seven-game losing streak to Alma and marked Van Buren’s second win at Alma in the past 11 years.
Van Buren’s offense snapped the ball 72 times and churned out 469 yards and 33 first downs.
Senior quarterback Christian Morrow completed 21-of-33 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown, and caught a touchdown pass from Gary Phillips.
Running back Brayden Rivas ran 20 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yard burst with 2:33 left that clinched the win. He ran for 114 yards in the second half alone.
Van Buren took the opening kickoff and scored on Phillips’ 40-yard touchdown pass to Logan Humphreys. Chris Flores kicked the extra point just 1:48 into the opener.
Van Buren held Alma but then fumbled the punt, and Alma answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Austin Fraley with 5:22 left in the first quarter. Alma missed the extra point, and Van Buren countered with back-to-back touchdown drives.
Van Buren capped a 12-play drive with a 7-yard scoring run by Rivas, and Phillips capped the opening drive of the second quarter with a touchdown pass to Morrow crossing in the back of the end zone with 9:31 left for a 22-6 lead.
Alma’s Landon Blair hit Grayson Bailey on a 78-yard touchdown pass on the first play after the kickoff, but Morrow threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Phillips to put Van Buren back up, 29-13, with 7:57 left before the half.
Flores ended the scoring in the first half with a 37-yard field goal.
Van Buren added to its lead on a 25-yard field goal by Flores, going up 35-13 with 6:35 left in the third quarter and after Brayden Fimple made a diving interception bumped its lead to 41-13 on a 16-yard scoring run by Morrow.
Alma then reeled off three straight scores to cut Van Buren’s lead to 41-33 with 10:00 left in the game.
Blair hit Bobby Winfrey with a 62-yard touchdown pass to start Alma’s flurry.
After Alma held Van Buren on a fourth down, Tanner Shelton hit Bailey on a 9-yard touchdown pass four plays into the fourth quarter to pull the Airedales within 41-27.
Alma struck quickly again, covering a pooch kick at the 9. Blair scored on the next play, but a bad snap on the extra-point attempt left the Airedales deficit at 41-33 with 10:00 left.
Alma had two more possessions before Rivas scored on a 13-yard touchdown run with 2:33 left to clinch the win.