SEFFNER — When speaking about the rebuilding of Middleton's football program, new Tigers coach Jason Stokes often talks about taking baby steps.
In a kickoff classic game against Armwood on Friday night at Lyle Flagg Field, it was men against boys.
"Baptism by fire," Stokes said.
The Hawks unofficially started their season with a 47-0 defeat of Middleton that ended with a running clock, Armwood's JV players getting in on the line score and a postgame huddle that ended with talk of the state championship game Dec. 19.
"We wanted to play 80 kids and we played 80 kids," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said.
Armwood junior quarterback Josh Grady, playing just the first half, completed 12 of 16 passes for 186 yards, and Matt Jones scored the first three touchdowns, one receiving and two rushing, as the Hawks built a 28-0 halftime lead.
"Middleton came out man to man," Grady said. "In my opinion, there's no one in this county who can stick with our athletes man to man. We have too much talent."
Armwood scored first less than one minute into the game on its fourth play from scrimmage when Grady found Jones across the middle for a 40-yard touchdown.
Jones, who finished with 92 total yards on just five touches, added first-quarter touchdown runs of 30 and 8 yards.
"We have a lot of mouths to feed," Callahan said. "We try to keep everyone happy without Josh or Matt being the guys. We want them to have to defend everybody."
The outcome might have been even more lopsided had the Hawks not committed 11 first-half penalties for 95 yards.
"I don't think we're going to play someone of this caliber for the rest of the year," Stokes said. "It wakes our guys up and lets them know they will have to bring their lunch pail on Monday."