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Sunday, November 04, 2012

North Falls to Minster

Game Pictures

It was a tough night for the Panthers in their playoff game against Minster.  It is always hard to play against a MAC (MidWest Athletic Conference) school , this small school conference has won more playoff games in recent years than any conference in the state.   They feature a spread offense with a robust passing game.   And as North would find out, their running backs can break out at any time.

North gave up 3 scores in the first quarter, they adjusted and slowed down the pace of scoring in the second quarter.  But couldn’t put any points on the board in the first half, even though they got into the red zone twice.  Once due to a JJ MacPherson kick return to the Minster 20 – which brought the North stands to their feet and again when MacPherson caught an Austin Hutchins pass and was caught from behind before he could score.  Each time the Minster defense stiffened and held North to negative yardage or forced a turnover.

Just before the half ended there was a curious sequence where each team seemed determined to give the other team the ball.  North coughed up the ball first and this gave the ball to Minster at midfield.  But JJ MacPherson snagged a Minster pass to give the ball right back to North with 32 seconds left in the half.  North tried to get tricky with a shovel pass, but an alert Minster defender picked it off and so the ball went back to Minster once again.  Minster did advance the ball to the North 14, but North kept them out of the endzone as time finally ran out for the half. 

North began the second half with a nice drive.  They used both the pass and run to set up the score.  They started at their own 30 and went backwards with an offsides. Not a good start to the drive. But Hutchins completed a pass to Colton Booth for a first down at the Minster 39.  Then a few plays later Hutchins scrambled and carried the ball to the 8. Where a late hit penalty moved the ball to the 4.  MacPherson finished the drive with 4 yard TD carry. 

But Minster throttled any thoughts of a North comeback with a crushing defense and kept up the tempo on offense.  It would be a 48-7 Minster victory. But North played to their best throughout the game – and it was a hard hitting game.  There were several game stoppages where dinged up players from both sides were taken off the field, and one Minster player had to be carted off in an ambulance.
Still this Panther squad has a lot to be proud of – first time in school history that the team has been in the state playoffs in back to back years.  Austin Hutchins has the most passing TD’s in a season(18) and in a career (49).  Billy Derringer has the most receiving TD’s in a season(10). 

Check back for coaches comments.

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