|Sun, Dec 08, 2013 10:13 AM
|Issue of November 27, 2013
October 03, 2012 | 10:28 AM
The North Harrison Cougars football team felt the heat of Silver Creek Friday night as the Dragons scored early to earn a 35-15 win. It was the first football win for the Dragons on their home field in 74 years (Silver Creek resurrected its football program a couple of years ago after decades of not fielding a team).
The Dragons brought the fire early with a score less than five minutes into the first quarter. After receiving a short kick on the 41-yard line, Silver Creek needed just six plays to get into the end zone, with Layne Taylor running the ball in from 12 yards.
In the second period, the Dragons scored twice. The first came with 5:26 to go in the half as Taylor ran 11 yards for a touchdown. The Cougars did get a defensive stop on the extra-point attempt as they blocked the kick.
With 1:36 to go in the half, a controversial call came when Cougars quarterback Jack Phelps threw deep to the end zone. Taylor was back for the Dragons and made the interception. As he started to return the ball upfield, the Cougars bench screamed the play should have been ruled a touchback. The officials, however, allowed the 107-yard touchdown, and Silver Creek took a 20-0 lead at halftime.
The National Federation of State High School Association's football rule book, which is published in and recognized by Indiana, states that, "It is a touchback when a forward pass is intercepted in (team) B's end zone and becomes dead there in B's possession."
"The back-breaker was the interception return," North Harrison coach Mark Williamson said. "That's the sixth score this season our offense has given up."
North Harrison finally got on the board in the third period. After receiving the second-half kickoff, which Sam Best returned to the 46-yard line following Silver Creek's squib kick, the Cougars used nine plays to score, with Brandon Craig running into the end zone from eight yards. Craig also got the two-point conversion, and the Cougars deficit was 20-8.
Silver Creek went scoreless in the third period but hit pay dirt twice in the fourth. With 9:13 left, Taylor scored again, this time from 11 yards. Jon Sheppard passed to Brad Graham on a fake kick for the conversion, and the Silver Creek lead ballooned to 28-8.
Then, with 5:07 to go, Brooks Howell threw to Austin Hasting for a 59-yard stinger and touchdown. Trevor Spense kicked the extra point as Silver Creek's lead was now 35-8.
North Harrison managed one last touchdown, with less than a minute to go, as Phelps ran a keeper from a yard out to get the score. Phelps also got the extra point for the final 35-15 score.
Williamson said his team wasn't lacking in defense but rather physical strength compared to the Dragons.
"We were in position," Williamson said. "I don't think you saw anybody, especially in their running game, anybody not there. Them running through big open holes, I don't think you saw that. I think you saw a lack of physical body strength to tackle a good back. That's what it was."
North Harrison ran 47 plays on the ground for 228 yards, most of that going to Tyler Jones. The Cougars completed just one of seven pass attempts for seven yards.
"We're trying to develop a passing game, but it just takes a little time," Williamson said. "(Jones) has gotten better every week. He's got to stay healthy. He runs pretty hard, and ball security is there. He's going to be a good one down the road."
Silver Creek ran 28 plays on the ground for 180 yards and completed 8 of 15 passing attempts for 136 yards for a total of 316 yards of offense.
"We've got a lot of issues," Williamson said. "We ran the ball pretty well, but we're probably the most one-dimensional team I've ever coached. That's not by design."