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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tri-County North Wins First Ever Playoff Game

This year’s record setting team once again took care of business the same way that have all season and recorded North’s first ever play off win.  Over the years North has qualified for the playoffs many times, but they were always one and done.  And the victory was all the sweeter as it took place in Lewisburg in front of a vocal TCN crowd.  For the senior class – they can also be proud that they made the playoffs all 4 years that they played.

Summit Country Day spread out the field and mixed the run and the pass.  But for the most part North’s defense kept them contained.  And North’s special teams once again shone and set up some big plays – including a punt return for a touchdown by Austin Elmore.  And Country Day had to deal with a long field most of night. They are a young team and do not have as deep a bench as North.  So in the second half North’s senior laden offense kept chugging out the yardage and kept Country Day’s offense on the bench.  And after their first possession of the second half – North pretty much limited them to 3 and out’s the rest of the night.

You had to be worried when the first play from scrimmage by North was a fumble – but the ball bounced into a diving Colton Booth’s hands.  And North did have to punt on their first series.  But the remainder of the first quarter was all North.  Linebacker Tanner Booth set up the first score by batting a Country Day pass into the air, then catching the ball and carrying to the 8 yard line before being dragged down.  Kody Cordes took over from there as he carried the ball into the endzone to spot North an early lead. 

And things went downhill fast for the Silver Knights.  A mishandled kick put the ball on the 5 yard line where Colton Booth tackled the quarterback in the endzone for a safety.   So Country Day now had to kick to North and the team responded by driving the ball 70 yards for another scoring drive – capped by a 21 yard carry by Kody Cordes.  So in the space of a few minutes, Country Day was down 16-0.

County Day was able to respond in the second quarter – they reached into their bag of tricks and were able to pull off a fake punt that kept the drive alive.  But North’s defense held them to a 28 yard field goal.  As time ran down before the half, Colton Booth connected with Garret Woodyard for a 38 yard catch to put North up 24-3.

Country Day came out of the locker room and put together another scoring drive.  And this made it a two score game with North up 24-10.  Country Day did try an onsides kick – but an offsides penalty called it back and the second time they kicked away.   The teams exchanged possessions and it was Austin Elmore who put the game out of reach when he took a punt at midfield and weaved through Country Day to make it a 3 score game once again.

North played ball possession the remainder of the game and Austin Green put the final points on the board with an 11 yard carry.  Not a perfect game – North mishandled the ball several times and this, along with some untimely penalties put them into long yardage situations.  A ball possession team needs to chug out the yardage consistently and not have to deal with 3rd and longs.  Still it was enough to win 38-10 and earn a ticket to the next round of the playoffs.   Not that North needed any extra motivation, but a few of the Country Day players trash talked North players during warmups. Coach Derringer remarked later that he did not need to motivate the players before the game– they were already fired up.

Like climbing a ladder - each round of the playoffs will be tougher and tougher for the team as they take each rung.  So they will need to watch those afore mentioned mistakes.  Next week they play against West Liberty Salem - a more seasoned team that can pass the ball well.

Coach Derringer on the win, “It’s been a long time coming – it took 7 times to get the win.  It’s a special group of guys, they worked so hard.  I can’t say enough for the senior leadership.  I know that at halftime, no one was satisfied with the performance of the first half.  They got on each other at halftime and in the second half I thought we did a pretty nice job. “

He continued, “I am almost at a loss for words right now, it’s really exciting.  I am happy for the kids – we are at 10-0 now.  It’s been a special year.”

On Country Day’s touchdown, “We really need to work on our deep pass coverage.  They have some really good skill players.  Our coverage was there we just have to do a better job of playing the football instead of playing the man. But we will work hard on that this week.  A lot of the teams coming up are shot gun, spread teams that can throw the ball.  So we are going to see this again.”