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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

North Win/Dixie Loss

Tri-County North proved that they could be road warriors, easily defeating the Arcanum Trojans, 40-13. It was a matchup that was expected to be closer, but the North Panthers exploded for 22 points in the second quarter and the game was not close after that.  Most of the damage was done by the running game as North would pound out 294 yards on the ground.  And in typical fashion, North’s defense swarmed to the ball and Arcanum had a tough time being consistent on offense. Next week North will be playing Mississinewa Valley in Lewisburg.

Stat’s for North: Rushing – Colton Booth 81; Garrison Woodyard 59; Wesley Morrow 12; Dustin Green 58; Kody Cordes 84. Passing - Colton Booth 2/9. Leading the team in tackles were Jordan Overcash, Blake Lawson, Austin Elmore who all had 7.  Austin Johnson and Colton Booth had 6.

Dixie on the other hand played against Brookville a team from SWBL’s big school division.  Brookville dominated the game while amassing 49 points.   Held scoreless at halftime,  Dixie did score in the third quarter to evade the shutout.  Clayton Washington broke loose and ran for over 60 yards on the score. 

Second Half is South's Half

National Trail matched up with TVS in a critical game where both teams had questions to answer.  South had an extra week off due to Bradford cancelling their varsity schedule.  So would this be like another week one game or would they be able to keep their momentum from their opening win.  Trail is coming off of an 0-2 start and needed to get a win to have any kind of shot at a league title. They also needed to prove that last season’s 8-2 record and playoff appearance was not an aberration.
But this game would turn out to be a tale of two halves as Trail seemed to do no wrong in the first half and South would have to battle their way back from a two touchdown deficit.  And in a way South would have to battle themselves as costly penalties cost them a touchdown – Brandon Simpson took a kickoff to the house, only to have it called back; and defensive penalties kept National Trail drives alive. 

Trail scored on their 3 first half possessions.  Their punter did not see the field in the first half. They used their spread offense and  dinked and dunked short passes, mixed with the occasional run to keep the ball moving.   South’s game plan involved keeping the ball on the ground and grinding out yardage. The clock eating drives were designed to keep Trail’s quarterback, Garret Griffen, on the sidelines.  South maybe threw the ball a handful of times the entire night.

Trail’s first half scores were from a quarterback keeper at the one yard line and two long pass plays. South’s Anthony Augspurger responded with a 2 yard touchdown carry.  South squandered another opportunity right before the half.  They had driven down to the Trail 23 and from there they threw two passes on 3rd and 4th down, but didn’t complete either of them.  So at halftime Trail had a comfortable 21-7 lead.

Woody Hayes would have been proud of the Panthers in the second half. The offensive line surged back the Trail defenders and the backs ran downhill – hitting their holes hard.  They received the ball to start the second half and even though they had to convert several 4th downs,  Joe Webb was able to complete the 60 yard drive with a 7 yard TD run to pull South to within a touchdown.   When Trail got the ball back, it looked like they would march the ball right back down the field and make it a two touchdown lead once again. But on 4th and 2 in the redzone, Augspurger drove Griffen out of bounds and ended that drive.

So South got the ball on their own 5 yard line. And again it was another grind it out drive where they drove the length of the field.  Augspurger would tie the ball game with a 9 yard carry. On Trail’s next possession there was a controversial play where Trail threw a long pass on 4th down. There was contact between the receiver and the defender – but no flag was thrown. The Trail coach was livid and stormed out onto the field. Not sure what was said – but it was enough for the referee to throw a flag. So the Panthers were gifted an extra 15 yards.

The ensuing South drive went about 50 yards, starting at the 5 minute mark of the 4th quarter. And both Wes Cole and Webb had some good carries to move the ball close to the redzone, but it was Augspurger who finished with a carry of about 20 hard earned yards to given the Panthers the lead at about the 2 minute mark.

Trail went to work and moved the ball to midfield, thanks in part to a roughing the passer call. But Trails hopes of a comeback ended on the next snap.  The ball went high and to the side, so Griffen mishandled it and then got control of the ball and tried to make a play.  He threw to the middle where who else but Augspurger was waiting.  He intercepted the ball and that put an end to Trails chances. With a little over a minute left South was able to run out the clock for a 28-21 come from behind win.

Coach Cates commented after the game, “It was part of our strategy to use our offense to run 16 to 18 play drives wear them down, and keep their offense off the field.  The first half everything went their way and they took advantage of that.   We really didn’t make that many half time adjustments.  We got more pressure on their quarterback and made adjustments to coverage. But I was really proud of our senior class they went into halftime saying come on guys, we can win this game – and they showed how resilient that they can be. And I thought that our conditioning really showed in the 4th quarter. We really wore them down.  When you win the line of scrimmage you typically win games. “
The week off, “It is hard to say if it was a factor or not. We did get to a slow start, it was not a fast start like we did against Dixie. But we do have to get out early, that is something that we are trying to change from last year.  But as far as handling adversity – that is the best that I have seen kids handle adversity since I have been here.  We don’t have a tradition of playing winning football and it was great to see these kids bounce back after halftime.

Next week South hosts Ansonia, “I have tremendous respect for coach Hoening.  They hide the ball well and use misdirection. They will run the ball and lull your defensive backs to sleep, then slip in the play action pass.  They are disciplined on defense.   We have to remember our keys on defense and win the line of scrimmage on offense to be successful.   Coach Hoening does extremely well with the kids he has, and he will get the most of them. “