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Sunday, October 18, 2009

North Bounces Back Against Trail
J. C. Tilton

Last week against South, the North football team had a rough time of it – seemingly nothing could right for the team on either offense or defense. This past Friday they hosted the National Trail Blazers for their homecoming game. Again the weather was not cooperative, it was a steady drizzle for most of the game. Last week they fumbled about 10 times under damp conditions and their offense could not get on track on the ground or in the air. The defense could not adjust either and did not stop the ground attack. So how would they fare under identical conditions, only on their home turf?

On the opening kickoff, North was able to force a Trail fumble and recover it. So it looked as though their fortunes were reversed. But a few plays later North coughed up the ball and gave it right back to the Blazers. This got a lot of fans wondering if this was going to a preview of the nights action. Would it be deju vu? But actually both teams would end up being balanced on turnovers. Later in the game, North would capitalize their opportunities, while Trail had a tough time turning turnovers into points, only turning one fumble into a touchdown.

Another part of the game that North had in their favor, was field position. A combination of poor punting by Trail and a lack of offense had North starting a lot of their scoring drives at midfield. Using the pass and run, they kept Trails defense off balance and took advantage of the short field several times.

You could see that North was fired up and after the early setback in the first quarter, they went to work the next series. After forcing a Trail punt, North started at midfield. Kyle Booth ripped a run to the one yard line where Dalton Overholtz punched it in. Again Trail was held to three plays and punt. This one was shanked and North took over at their own 39. Josh McAdams caught an Overholtz pass for the next score. Finally Cody Broughton caught another TD pass to put North up 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Trail was able to manage a touchdown late in the first half when Rexrode caught a Bolinger pass. This was set up a by a North fumble and a 4th down conversion in North territory. So this kept the game close (20-6) and it looked like momentum might have turned to the Blazers side with that score right before halftime.

It really began to look like the Blazers would catch fire when they held North to three plays and punt on their first possession of the half. Using an unbalanced line they were grinding out yardage and worked the ball to midfield. But Trail fumbled there and North was ready to capitalize on this gift at the 50. After Booth moved the ball to the 15, Overholtz found Brandon McAdams in the endzone for another score. Now Trail had a huge mountain to climb, but their offense was not geared for a quick score.

In the fourth quarter, Dakota Gulling kept the momentum going and scored on a long rambling run to end the scoring for North. Trail may have actually had the ball for a longer time than North in the second half. North did their scoring quickly while Trail’s attack was mostly ground based which consumed a lot of clock. Trail did manage a couple of TD’s late in the game, but it was too little to late and North won their homecoming - bouncing back 34-20.