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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Defense was the difference maker in North’s game against Mississinnawa Valley. The Panther offense was not silent, but I thought the defense set the tone Friday night. The offense sputtered at times, but North’s defense was stalwart throughout the game. Particularly in the first half. The offense was good for 14 points, but some miscues kept them from scoring more. Penalties and lapses in the pass blocking would derail several opportunities. But thanks to the defense, special teams, and a rambunctious home crowd, a good bit of the game was played in Blackhawk territory.
Late game heroics helped to seal a shutout for North. The Blackhawks only mustered a couple of first downs for their efforts up until halftime. The second half wasn’t much better. A swarming North defense kept their running game at bay. But then they nosed the ball into North territory late in the 4th quarter. And it was starting to look like the Blackhawks were poised for a 4th quarter rally. They had connected on a key 4th and 11 pass play with 3:43 left in the game to keep their drive alive. Blackhawk Gary Pease had found an open seam in the North defense and put the Blackhawks into North territory. But Caleb Lawson made a big play during the next set of downs, intercepting a pass to put any hope of a comeback to rest and ensuring a North shutout.
After the game Coach Derringer had praise for his defense, “We allowed about 25 yard rushing for the entire game, and about 60 yards of passing. We had big plays from our line backers, a pair of juniors – Jacob Schlater and Josh Daugherty. And Alec Brasher, our defensive end, had several tackles for loss. The defense played really well Friday night.”
North won 14-0; Freshman quarterback Austin Hutchins called his own number and scored from 14 yards out in the first quarter, then late in the second quarter he connected with Sam Judd for an 11 yard TD catch. In the second half, North penetrated deep into Black Hawk territory several times, but came away empty handed. “ We already had a starting tackle and guard out going into the game, “ stated Coach Derringer, “ Then we lost our other tackle to injury. So we had to start a lot of young guys on our line. “
Even with the patchwork offensive line, North was able to put 3 rushers past the 50 yard mark: Hutchins, Mike Olinger, and JJ MacPherson. Hutchins could have had even more net yardage, but sacks subtracted from his total. North was generous with the ball, giving 8 players touches on offense. Hutchins was 4/11 and 70 yards on the night. But the youthful line showed – there was one sequence where North had 3 penalties in a row – leaving them with an outrageous 1st and 35. And twice North advanced inside the 30 in the second half, but quarterback sacks pushed the ball backwards and ended the threat.
Coach Derringer was asked to look ahead at Bethel, “They still have the same coaches there that they have had for several years. They know what we do, and we know what they do. They played a tough game against Covington this week. When we play it has always been a hard fought and close game. We coaches are breaking down their film this weekend and getting the team ready.”