It took Demetrius Carr one game to experience what he had missed all last football season.
The junior quarterback, among Immaculate Conception's fresh faces along with new head coach Chris VanDyke, directed the Knights' offense to a 38-12 season-opening victory over nonconference foe Ridgewood at Lewis Stadium in Elmhurst.
In 2010 Carr endured an 0-9 season at St. Joseph. On Saturday the 6-foot-2 transfer ran for 2 touchdowns and passed for 2 more to lead the Knights from a 12-10 second-quarter deficit.
"It feels good to be over here," said Carr, who ran for 71 yards and completed 11 of 21 passes for 159 yards. "It feels good to get my first win as a varsity quarterback under my belt, especially at IC."
Carr's personal highlight was a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tim Hipskind. Carr scrambled to break one tackle and avoid another, pointed Hipskind to a clearing deep in the end zone then zipped the ball in for a 31-12 lead early in the fourth quarter.
What really decimated Ridgewood, besides a concussion, several leg cramps and an early knee injury to 280-pound guard C.J. Norrine, was IC's 13-play, 62-yard touchdown drive that ate up seven minutes right out of halftime.
Carr, completing 5 of 6 passes on the drive, found Cody Baker on third-and-8 and Dan Vatch on fourth-and-5, then hit tight end Andrew Vitek in the end zone on second-and-goal from the 12.
"We try to get long drives and try to wear the team out," said James Peachey, who centered the line of Sean Fenton, Adalberto Suarez, Brendan Flaherty and Patrick Skrodzki.
"It took the soul out of the team," Rebels coach Chris Zack confirmed.
Initially IC couldn't shake Ridgewood. IC kicker Adam Muellers' 23-yard field goal opened the scoring and Vatch ran for a 6-yard, second-quarter touchdown, among his team-high 80 yards rushing.
Ridgewood answered within 24 seconds each time to lead 12-10 with 3:36 before halftime. Carr's 1-yard touchdown run ended the volley for a 17-12 halftime lead and, soon enough, complete control.
Ridgewood gained 160 yards of first-half offense and finished with 182. P.J. O'Connor ran for 112 first-half yards; he earned 1 more.
Formerly an assistant at Naperville Central for 11 years, VanDyke enjoyed his first victory as a head coach. Then he spoke like a 30-year veteran.
"It was fun," he said, "and we just have to sharpen up between now and next week and just focus on getting better."