Sunday, September 18, 2011

“Our defense is what makes this team”, stated coach Derringer after his squad defeated Bethel on Friday night, “we don’t have much size but overall quickness is what makes our defense so effective.” Bethel was able to march their opening drive down the field and plant the ball in the endzone. It looked like game on for two teams that are battling for the top half of the league. But that would be the only score of the night for the Bee’s as the stifling North defense shut out Bethel for the remainder of the game. Meanwhile the North offense was able to put up 34 points in all against Bethel.

Coach Derringer explained after the game that he was disappointed with the first half rushing game. “We had scouted them, and attacked their defense where we felt they were weakest against the run. But we were not able to run, we might have had 8 yards in the first quarter and not much more than that for the half. “ Fortunately for the Panthers their passing game is effective – and Austin Hutchins connected with Billy Derringer for the first score for the Panthers. This tied the game and the Panthers were able to score again before the half ended. They split Austin Hutchins out as a receiver and placed Caleb Lawson at quarterback. Billy Derringer was again the recipient of a touchdown pass - this time from Lawson, and the Panthers had a 14 – 7 lead.

As good teams do, North made some half time adjustments to their running game and then exploded for 163 yards rushing in the 3rd quarter. Caleb Lawson scored a rushing td in the third and North opened the game up in the fourth quarter with both JJ McPherson and Cameron Gayheart scoring rushing TD’s. So the two halves were opposites for the team with the passing game carrying the load in the first half, and the rushing game making the difference in the second half. The game was won 34-7 by the Panthers. Coming into the game Bethel had a single league loss against Covington and in that loss they played tough against perennial powerhouse Covington losing by just 3 points 17-14. So on paper this should have been a much closer battle.

“Our defense stepped it up after the opening drive,” said coach Derringer, “We gave up 52 yards in the first quarter, but in the second quarter they had -22 rushing. And when we beat Arcanum they had 7 yards rushing in the first 3 quarters, and it was the same against Mississennewa Valley. For the game Bethel had less than 100 yards rushing and maybe 25 yards passing. It was a good game for us, we had great intensity and the team was emotional going into the game.”

Defensively for the Panthers Josh Daughter lead the way with 12 tackles and 2 for loss; Jacob Schlater, who had just returned from injury after missing two games had 6 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and caused a fumble. Sam Judd and JJ McPherson had 6 tackles apiece with McPherson also intercepting a pass.

Coach Derringer on next week, “Covington will run every type of option at us – they have a complicated offense and our defense will have our hands full trying to sort it out. It has been 12 years since a North team has beat Covington. We will have to play an excellent game to leave their field with a victory.”

As we approach midseason, the league is starting to sort itself out from top to bottom. This coming Friday North takes on Covington for a game with both league and playoff implications for both teams. Both teams are undefeated in league play – tied for first, and a win makes the route the league championship that much easier. North is D6 this year and beating D5 Covington would give them first level points to get into the playoffs, and Covington would like to have the second level points from North wins. This will be an away game for North in the always tough Covington home field.