BONNE TERRE — The North County football team resurrected its offense behind a huge passing performance by Wyatt Compton, and restored some much-needed confidence on Saturday.
Jacob Whitwell and fellow senior receiver Jon Stabenow each accounted for two long touchdowns, and the Raiders’ defense stifled the De Soto rushing attack in an emphatic 38-0 blowout for their first win.
Compton connected on nine of his first 10 passes, and finished 16-of-24 overall for 360 yards and four scores. North County (1-2) posted a decisive 430-151 advantage in total yards.
Stabenow netted 168 yards on five receptions, and Whitwell compiled 135 yards on six grabs. Shaky tackling and solid downfield blocking in the De Soto secondary turned numerous short passes into loftier gains.
Sophomore Tyler Curtis sprinted through a gaping hole on the opening kickoff and used a convoy of blockers along the left side for an 81-yard return to hand the Raiders an instant lead.
That spark was a pleasant turnaround for a special teams unit that allowed a 95-yard return to Central one week earlier.
The North County defense stopped a fake punt near midfield on its first defensive series, and Compton punctuated a successful opening possession for the offense with a 29-yard touchdown scramble.
De Soto (1-2) pieced together a 14-play second drive — easily its longest of the day — but a 4th-down option pitch was stuffed at the Raiders’ 22.
The Dragons made just one more approach toward the North County red zone, but junior Isaiah Smith intercepted quarterback Austin Hayes over the middle in the third quarter.
Hayes completed 2-of-9 passes overall and was the leading De Soto rusher with 47 yards. The senior was sacked three times in the first half by Brandon Naucke, Dyllon Parmley and Compton.
North County extended its lead to 19-0 on a swing pass, as Whitwell slipped past the first man to go 49 yards. The scoring drive continued after Compton converted a 3rd-and-15 throw to Kaleb Warden.
A blocked punt by Naucke gave the Raiders starting field position near midfield, and Stabenow was left alone on a blown coverage behind the De Soto defense for a 47-yard touchdown with 3:51 left in the half.
Stabenow produced the longest play of the contest after running a crossing route, going 91 yards in the third quarter after reversing directions.
The Raiders built a 31-0 halftime margin after Whitwell broke two tackles and tiptoed the right sideline with 46 seconds remaining.
Tristen Rosa recorded a team-high seven tackles for North County, which will take a 1-0 MAFC Red Division record into Hillsboro on Friday.
De Soto defenders Lucas Fann and Tyler Latham picked up sacks, and Connor Bothell added 37 rushing yards on 10 carries.
De Soto 0 0 0 0 – 0
North County 12 19 7 0 – 38
NC (6-0) – Curtis 81-yd kickoff return (Kick blocked), 11:46
NC (12-0) – Compton 29-yd run (Kick blocked), 6:50
NC (19-0) – Whitwell 49-yd pass from Compton (Thompson kick), 7:19
NC (25-0) – Stabenow 48-yd pass from Compton (Kick failed), 5:31
NC (31-0) – Whitwell 44-yd pass from Compton (Run failed), 0:46
NC (38-0) – Stabenow 91-yd pass from Compton (Thompson kick), 2:35