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Saturday, October 10, 2015

North Homecoming a Barn Burner

If you were wanting to write a story about high school football in Ohio, then Friday nights game in Lewisburg between North and Troy Christian was the place to be.  A player is crowned the homecoming king then goes on to score the first two touchdowns of the game for the home team,  Next he goes on to intercept not 1 but 2 passes - the last interception ending any hopes of a comeback by the visiting team.  North's Logan Elmore was the epitome of a home town hero as he did all of the above in just one nights work.  Lane Gunder took over the scoring for North in the second half as he scored 3 times to cement the North victory 41-28.  But we are not finished - it was a noteworthy night for coach Derringer as well - he recorded his 100th win and was honored by the school with a plaque at the end of the game.  High school football does not get much better than this.

Unlike last week's dismal conditions, it was a crisp, clear fall night. Both offenses were mirror images of one another – good running backs that can break out for large chunks of yardage and quarterbacks that could air it out and chuck the ball downfield. And at first it looked like the game would be a track meet between the two teams with offenses barreling up and down the field with ease in the first quarter.

A total of 5 touchdowns were scored in the first 12 minutes by the two teams. The Eagles only needed 3 plays to get their 2 touchdowns while North had to work only slightly harder. Late in the 1st quarter, North adjusted their defense and finally held the Eagles and forced them to punt.

And that set the tone for the 2nd quarter where surprisingly neither team scored. Both teams moved the ball, but turnovers affected both teams. North held on a critical 4th down play late in the 1st half with the Eagles at about the 6 yard line. When the Eagles attempted to pass the ball was deflected by the North secondary and thus ended their attempt to tie the game.

Both offenses adjusted after halftime. The Eagles utilized their air attack since North was doing a good job of stopping the run. And a beat up North squad relied on their quarterback, Lane Gunder, to help provide offense. He moved the ball with his arm and also tucked and ran the ball several times to keep drives alive. And in the last quarter a noticeably limping Garrett Woodyard returned to the field and pounded the ball in between the tackles to eat up clock and provide yardage for North's last 2 scores.

The Eagles scored quickly in the third quarter to tie the game. And after each of their second half scores, they did an onsides kick which North's special teams covered. So this gave North a short field to work with. Their offense methodically moved the ball down the field and scored. Troy Christian had one last gasp late the game with about 2 minutes left. They had advanced the ball into North territory and were hoping for a quick score and then to roll the dice with another onsides kick in hopes of getting the ball back for a hail Mary pass. But Elmore rose to the occasion once again and intercepted an Eagles pass to seal the win for the Panthers.

Scoring Summary for North - Logan Elmore had a tremendous first quarter scoring 2 rushing touchdowns – both of which were set up by him. One on a 46 yard catch that put north in scoring positon and the other on a kick off return to the 22 yard line of Troy Christian. Garrett Woodyard caught a pass for the 3rd Panther score and Colton Overholtz caught a 2 point conversion attempt to make up for a missed PAT earlier. Gunder scored on quarterback keepers for all 3 2nd half scores.

An ecstatic coach Derringer spoke after the game, “There wasn't much defense out there tonight, both offenses just had their way. We just couldn't stop them. We had to fight for everything we got. It shows that we have to shore up our pass protection. As the game went on we got a little better but that something we have to work on for next week. ”

He commented on the offense and defense, “On the other hand, we moved the ball well on them. They couldn't stop us – we did not punt once. We had some turnovers and that stopped some of our drives. But if you like a lot of offense, well tonight was a good game to watch. On defense, our linebackers were able to disrupt their offense somewhat, but their plan in the second half to pass more worked well for them. They blocked our line well and that gave them time to find open receivers.

He continued, “We have to get healthy. We had some of our starting guys have to come out. It really alters what we are trying to do when we have to go to our bench. We knew that this was a big game coming in here. Not only because of homecoming, but we needed to bounce back after last weeks devastating loss. We have to keep this momentum going for the next 3 weeks and then see what happens. ”

The 100th win - “I had one man come up to me and say that he was here for my 1st win and for my 100th – that meant a lot to me. I have been blessed to be able to coach a lot of really good young men over the years. But its more than football it's about trying to make them into good young men. “