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Sunday, October 10, 2010

North v South: another one for the Ages.

North, South – those words by themselves symbolize rivalry. And for Tri County North it was also their homecoming, which added to the already tense atmosphere. For years the two Panther teams have dueled on the field. These games are usually battles and this year’s edition added another page to that legacy. The two teams kept the crowd on the edge of their seats all four quarters.

North came into the game with momentum, winning their last two games – one of those being an upset of Miami East. South has struggled this season and has only a single victory. But as always, records are meaningless when these two teams take the field. The offensive fireworks would happen in the first half and the game would become a defensive stalemate in the second half.

North went to work on their opening drive, and aided by a couple of South penalties would score first on a JJ MacPherson 20 yard run. But South bounced back and scored on their first drive as well. Michael Burke connected with Tony Combs on a pass to put the ball in North territory. They ran the ball, then went back to the pass where this time Combs caught a 19 yard TD. The extra point was missed, so North stayed ahead 7-6.

The next score was set up when North quarterback Austin Hustchins was pressured in the pocket and had to scramble. When he done running, he had gone about 40 yards and put the ball on the 2 yard line where he would run a quarterback sneak for the score. On the ensuing South series North’s Eli Davidson would have the defensive play of the night when he snagged a South pass and ran about 37 yards for a North touchdown. This defensive touchdown would turn out to be a big one and put North on top 21-6.

But South’s Michael Burke wanted to show that North didn’t have the only quarterback who run and score. In the last half of the second quarter, he ran a keeper about 45 yards for a touchdown. And in their last possession of the quarter it looked like South had ran a hook and ladder play for a score, only to have it called back on an illegal forward lateral. Then Jacob Schneider sacked the South quarterback on the next play to end the South drive and hopes to draw even before halftime. South's Bobby Green also had a tackle for loss in the first half.

So at halftime the score stood 21-14 in favor of North. Now the two teams hunkered down and played some tough nosed defensive football. North ended one South drive at the 20 yard line when Austin Hutchins intercepted a pass from his counterpart. Both teams defenses held tough on 4th down situations numerous times. North ended another South drive at midfield on a big 4th down play and South ended a North drive on a 4th and 3 play on their own 12. But at the other end of the field North stopped South on a 4th and 2 inside their 30. Neither defense was breaking and both offenses were using all of their downs - shooting all their bullets each series.

There was about a minute and half left in the game when the North coach decided to go for it on 4th and 7 at midfield. The quarterback keeper was denied and South was back in business. They moved the ball to about the North 30 – and time was counting down. But the North defense stepped it up once again when Caleb Lawson pulled down a South pass to end their hopes with about 17 seconds left in the game. This was definitely a memorable game for the grit and determination showed by these two teams from the opening kickoff to the final horn.

Coach Derringer had this to say about the game, “South was very prepared for us. They came out and played a great ball game. We came out on the opening drive and stuck it in the endzone. But then they responded on their first drive stuck in the endzone too. From that point on it was pretty much a dogfight. We told the kids this week that the North South game you can throw out the records. It’s a big rivalry game and it doesn’t matter who has the better record at the time.”

"Our defense has been playing well. We had some breakdowns against Bethel, but from the Covington game on, they have been getting after people. We had the three interceptions, and on Davidson’s, he is a defensive end and recognized the half back pass and dropped back underneath and made an outstanding play – running it back in for a touchdown. Michael Olinger, our fullback, was really relied upon in the 4th quarter when we were trying to chug out positive yardage and hoped to get an insurance score. “ Next week North plays at winless National Trail, while South hosts Miami East.

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