October 23, 2013 | 10:19 AM
Seeking to lock up a better than .500 record for the first time since 2006, the North Harrison football team came up short of the mark when they visited Paoli Friday.
The Rams improved to 7-2 after defeating North Harrison 33-22.
North Harrison was able to get on the board first against a stingy Paoli defense. Sophomore running back Sam Best was able to score from 2-yards out, giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
For the remainder of the first half, North Harrison was held scoreless while the Rams scored three unanswered touchdowns.
A pair of long pass plays by Brett Balsmeyer went for touchdowns. The first was a 58-yard completion to Garrett Strange and the second, from 52 yards out, to Tanner Wroblewski.
Balsmeyer and Wroblewski hooked up again before halftime for a 5-yard touchdown, giving Paoli a 19-7 halftime lead.
To start the third quarter, North Harrison made it a one-possession game when Jack Phelps completed a pass to Joseph Hinton for a 32-yard TD. A two-point conversion run by Austin Nevil put the game within reach at 19-15.
Paoli's response was two more scores. Strange had a 75-yard kick-off return, followed by Wroblewski snagging his third touchdown pass.
North Harrison was able to score once more before the game ended, a 28-yard run by Brandon Craig.
As a team, North Harrison rushed for 187 yards while Phelps passed for 105 yards.
Total yardage was narrow between the programs, with Paoli out-gaining North Harrison 321-292.
The loss dropped North Harrison to 4-5.
North Harrison has turned its attention to Class 3A Sectional 31. The Cougars will travel to Mitchell on Friday to take on the Blue Jackets. Coached by John Edge, Mitchell is 1-8 with the lone win a 14-6 decision over Crawford County on Sept. 20.
This will be the fifth meeting between the programs (2-2 series) and the first since a meeting in the 1986 sectional.