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Sunday, October 25, 2015

North Rumbles Over South in Second Half

The North - South game was close at halftime with North holding a marginal 14-9 lead.  But North's running attack was able to grind down South's defense in the second half.  Logan Elmore and Garrett Woodard provided the Thunder and Lightening while Lane Gunder threw the occasional pass or run to keep South honest.  South was able to pass sporadically on offense, but North all but eliminated their running game. North put together some nice drives after halftime and shut down South as they went on to win easily 31-9.

 Although North was still fighting injuries – there were 11 players sidelined for this game, they had a complete backfield after being short handed last week. Garret Woodyard returned to the field after being sidelined with a leg injury. The rest must have rejuvenated him as he had a fantastic night, scoring 3 touchdowns and then on defense he shone as well as he got an interception.

South tried to repeat their performance by using what worked well against Covington – utilizing their passing game to move the ball. But North's defense was up to the task. They gave up some yardage in the air, but after South's initial scoring drive the defense would not allow South any sustained drives. Execution was a problem for South. There were several poor exchanges between the center and quarterback. The ball was intercepted twice – once by Woodyard and once by Elmore. Add in some ill timed penalties, dropped passes, and it made for a frustrating night for the home town team.

South scored on the first drive of the night – going the length of the field where Sammy Shockey caught a 16 yard touchdown catch. North scored next on a Woodyard run. Then North misfired when a snap sailed over the punters head and went through the endzone for a safety which gave South 2 more points. Elmore caught a 10 yard touchdown pass from Lane Gunder to give North a halftime lead.

But North would dominate the second half. After halftime, South tried an onsides kick and North was able to cover it. However, North did not move the ball well despite the short field and finally decided on a field goal attempt on 4th and 11. Zack Edgin kicked about a 27 yard field goal to pad North's lead. At the end of the 3rd quarter it was still a close game with North up 17-9.

But the South defense was giving up big chunks of yardage as North's line established control of the line of scrimmage. North punched the ball in again to extend their lead. Then late in the game, South found themselves in a 4th down situation deep in their own territory at the 15 yard line. Down by two scores they had no choice but to go for it, but they fell short. North took advantage of the gift and a couple of plays later Woodyard scored.

We saw what they did against Covington with their short routes and went to press coverage,” stated coach Derringer after the game, “We knew that we would give up a pass or two and the occasional big play. And despite giving up the one passing touchdown, I thought our coverage was great tonight. We had an extra guy helping to cover JJ Utz deep, we weren't going to let him beat us.”

He went on, “We had to do a lot of rework this week to get guys into their positions. But the guys really stepped up. The North – South game is always a really big game. It's a great bounce back victory after last weeks loss. Having Woodyard back is a difference maker for us. He can run it inside and with Logan Elmore running outside, then you throw in Lane Gunder''s passing ability – it makes a triple threat for anyone to defend against.”

We felt pretty good after scoring on the first drive. But not being able to score a second time and having North score to go ahead at halftime seemed to deflate us,” stated South's coach Cates after the game, “We had some missed catches and penalties so we didn't help ourselves. North played some tough man to man defense – they are a good football team. We made plays at times but our offense sputtered. We didn't get in gear like we did at Covington – North got us out of our rhythm.”

North hosts National Trail next week while South journeys to Miami East. South has the chance to play spoilers next Friday. A win puts Miami East out of contention for the league championship and would most likely drop the Vikings from consideration for the state playoffs.