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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Speed Trumps Strength
J. C. Tilton

This past Friday’s game between North and South was a match up at many levels. It was a decisive game as both teams were 2-3 going into the game. A win would make a winning season record that much easier, the loser would be 2-4 and would face an uphill climb to have a winning season. Next this is a rivalry game, both teams give a little extra on the field when playing your schools chief competitor. North features a large line and strength in numbers – around 40 players in all. South came into the game with a quick backfield and effective passing attack; but were low in overall numbers. So it became a battle of speed versus strength.

North’s game plan seemed to be to pound the ball between the tackles and wear down the South defense. Although they passed some, a pair South of interceptions kept them from utilizing the pass more. South’s game plan was to work the edge with their speed and mix in the pass to keep North off-balance. To their credit the South defense did not get weary in the second half and was able to make big plays at critical times.

The consensus was that this would be a high scoring as both teams have been able to light up the scoreboard. But the first quarter ended in a 0-0 tie. But from there both teams would cross the goal line many times. The chains were smoking on the yardmarkers as they followed the ball up and down the field. South scored first. Ryan Burns helped set up it with an interception to the 37 yard line. South had a short field and minutes later Grant Kreitzer caught a pass for the first score of the night. In a carry over from last week, South had problems with extra points and would not get an extra point on their first 4 scores of the night.

Dakota Gulling drew first blood for North. After a 45 yard carry, he completed the deal with a 1 yard TD run. Encroachment put the ball on the 1 and half yard line and so North went for a 2 pointer and got it when Matt Green scored. From there the action was swift. South’s Steve Balthis caught a TD pass to regain the lead; North answered with a Matt Green touchdown run. The last touchdown of the half followed an odd series of events. South had to punt but the punter bobbled the snap and barely got the kick away. There must have been butter on the ball as the North return man muffed the kick on his end and South recovered on the North 21. Miles McCollum ripped off a 21 yard carry to put South up at the half 18-15.

A bad snap set up North’s first score of the next half. Again the South punter barely got the ball away and this time the kick only netted about 10 yards. Matt Green took advantage of the short field and scored to put North back on top. South needed a momentum boost and got it when Roy Wysong busted a kick return all the way back to the North 27. Skylar Reckers crossed the goal line for the score.

Special teams were a problem for both teams. North had a punt blocked deep in their territory. This time Tyler Leach crossed the goal line for South. When North tried to battle back into the game, an alert Cody Bryant caught a bouncing ball that tipped off of two other players downfield to end a North drive at midfield. What was once a see-saw game started to become a rout as South’s Skylar Reckers scored again. Another North turnover occurred when Steve Balthis fell on a North fumble and this set up a Miles McCollum to Grant Kreitzer TD pass. North managed a score in the final minute of the game when Josh McAdams scored. When the horn blew South had won 45-30

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