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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

North Crushes Miami East

At the start of Friday night there were 3 unbeaten teams in the CCC, but by nights end that number was whittled down to 2.  Most followers of the CCC were expecting a slim margin of victory when undefeated Miami East met undefeated Tri-County North.  And how would a bye week affect Tri-County North?  Last season Miami East beat North twice, how would North respond this season? This years game was at Miami East – how would North respond to a big game away from home. Those were a few of the questions going into Friday nights game, but North answered them with a resounding roar as they blasted past the Vikings 42-14.

Field position, turnovers, and distributed scoring were all factors in North’s success.  5 different players crossed the goal line for North – you can stop one player, but it is hard to stop a team.  It took a few series for North to get their motor in gear.  They were 3 and out on offense their first two series and although the defense kept East scoreless in the first half, they gave up some yardage. So the bye week seemed to have an effect, at least in the early going.  But as the game progressed, North got their mojo back and gained the early momentum.

Despite the windy conditions, North was getting good coverage and a good roll on their punts – putting East deep into their own territory to start drives.  On the other hand, North was getting good field position and their first score was from a drive that started at midfield.  Colton Booth connected with Kody Cordes for a touchdown pass. And Miami East did not help their cause during the night as they coughed up the ball 4 times.  And this season North has been able to capitalize on gifts from the other team.  So after scoring North kicked off and East promptly fumbled on the return.  It was not easy, but North answered with a touchdown by Booth and now East was down by 2 scores.

So a lethargic North team had come alive.  But they were not done yet.  Their next scoring drive was a 95 yard drive capped with a Garret Woodyard run for a touchdown.  East tried to put some points on the board right before halftime, but after driving to the North 15, Trey Summers sacked the East quarterback to put them in long yardage.  They could not convert on 4th down and South entered the locker room with a 21-0 lead and equally as important - the momentum.

North continued where they left off in the 3rd quarter. Blake Lawson caught a touchdown pass and Dustin Green scored on 14 yard run.  East made a last gasp effort in the 4th quarter where they had some success running in between the tackles and were able to score a couple of touchdowns. But it was too little, too late as North coasted to an anti-climactic 42-14 win. Setting up a huge rivalry game with South next week as the last two unbeaten teams in the CCC clash.

“The effort from our kids was just outstanding”, stated Coach Derringer after the game, “but we have a big game ahead of us next week in Twin Valley South.  It’s going to be a big game for us. Colton Booth had another good game and he made some good decisions at the quarterback position. We worked on his passing game this week  and I think it showed tonight in the first half. But I give East a lot of credit, we had a running clock on them – but they responded.   They went down the field and stuck it in. Then got an onsides kick and scored again.  And it showed us that we still have things we need to work on.  South has a good running game and our defense has to show up.”

Is this the best team coach you coached?  “I don’t like to compare one team against the other, we have had some great athletes here the last 3-4 years and we have a great group this year too.”

At the end of the interview coach Derringer flatly stated that, “I want to be other there with my guys” – referring to the team. You could tell that he would rather be celebrating with his players than speaking with a cluster of sports reporters. And I couldn’t blame him -  last years losses against Miami East(one regular season and one playoff loss) have been avenged and it was time for North to bask in the afterglow of a job well done.

Will this be the last time that East and North play this season?  Maybe not as both teams are in the same playoff district.  So there is a chance that the two foes will meet again. But North has to prepare for another big game against unbeaten South next Friday. The CCC title and the playoff’s are factors dependent on the outcome of this game.

South Dominates Covington

1999 was the last time that South beat Covington.  And although it has been a down year by Covington standards, they are still well coached and play hard.  But South’s size and athleticism allowed them to dominate Covington.  They scored first and took advantage when Covington turned over the ball.  Covington was able to score in the third quarter and make things a little interesting, but South would not let them get a whiff of a comeback by scoring 3 second half touchdowns themselves for a 41-14 victory.

Anthony Augspurger scored all 3 of South’s first half touchdowns. In the second half the scoring was more distributed with Joe Webb, Sammy Shockey, and Wes Cole all making touchdowns.  Worrisome for South was that they did not get any PAT’s in the first half.  In a close game, those PAT’s can be the difference.  South turned over the ball themselves, also something that is uncharacteristic for them.

“We came out hard right from the get-go”, stated Coach Cates, “we scored fast and that is huge against an option/ball control team like Covington.   We were up 14-0 right out of the gate.  Our defense was aggressive and played soundly the whole night. Offensively we just dominated the line of scrimmage – our line just did a great job.  We ran right at them and used our size advantage. Defensively they read the option and defended it well.”

He continued, “I have a tremendous amount of respect for their coach, Dave Miller.  They play  extremely hard.  But I was disappointed that we had more turnovers in this game than we had all year. “

Next week’s showdown with North, “It’s awesome that both teams are undefeated.  We focus on one game at time, but we have been watching what they have done. But now it’s here – how can this game get any bigger in Preble County.  Both teams undefeated this late in the season with the CCC championship and the playoffs on the line. “

“We are really excited about it and it is going to be a huge test.  They have a huge senior class, we have a big senior class.  Which made both teams successful – all of that game experience.  It’s going to be a dog fight, their backs are pretty big and hard to bring down.  Their defense has been lights out all year and every week our defense has been getting better. This game could really come down to who makes the less mistakes – who is going to protect the ball better.  I think it is going to be a close game and won’t be decided until the 4th quarter.”

This year’s North – South game will be in Lewisburg so North will have the home field advantage. North has dominated the matchup in recent history. But for the first time in a long time, this game has significance.  The winner will control their destiny in the playoff positioning, the loser will have to wait and watch how the numbers play out after that last game of the season. The winning team will also have at least a share of the league title.  Not mention it is a rivalry and you play hard in every game – but in a rivalry you reach a little deeper to give a little more during the game.  There have been several epic battles over years, this game should not disappoint, so get there early to get a good seat.