Perry scary in 34-14 victory over NH
Perry Central invaded Ramsey Friday night and turned North Harrison’s dream of a 2-0 start into a nightmare as the visitors completely took the Cougars out of the game in a 34-14 victory.
A packed house saw junior running back A.J. Hubert and senior wide-out D.J. Krieg produce all the offense the Commodores needed. Hubert rushed 17 times for 91 yards while Krieg hauled in six catches for 115 yards. Shon Hubert, the Commodores’ quarterback, lofted five TD passes as well. Perry’s defense shined almost as bright, holding North’s Gary Fessel to just 51 yards on 15 carries.
The balanced attack, as well as a slew of Cougars errors, dropped North Harrison to 1-1. The Cougars will try to right their ship Friday at Charlestown in their first Mid-Southern Conference game of the season. That contest kicks off at 7:30.
“That was scary,” said North Harrison coach Dan Haskell. “I really feel like we beat ourselves. Perry came out and played a very good game, came out tough. But at the end there, I just think we quit.”
The Commodores, coming off a 33-0 shutout over Corydon the week before, jumped to an early 21-0 lead.
Shon Hubert hit Zeb Coultas from four yards out for a touchdown halfway through the first period. With under two minutes to go, Fessel had the ball knocked out of his hands on a running play, and Perry’s Wyatt Gayer picked up the fumble. With :21 left in the period, Shon Hubert unleashed one of his many bombs to a wide-open D.J. Krieg for an 86-yard score. The extra point made it 14-0 Perry after one quarter.
The Commodores struck again less than a minute into the second quarter after Fessel’s second bobble. Perry’s quarterback found Krieg on a 37-yard strike to give the visitors a 21-0 advantage.
Commodore coach Mike Spencer said he wanted his team to pounce on North Harrison early, especially after his team lost a 14-8 decision to North last year at Perry Central.
“We felt like we had to,” Spencer said. “We felt like it was going to be a real dog fight. We wanted to establish the fact that we were going to play with intensity, and felt like we had to come out and play that way or they were going to flat dominate us.”
Just when it seemed like the rout was on, the Cougars showed a spark of life after a pair of Commodore turnovers.
With 2:33 on the clock, Shon Hubert was sacked by James Thompson, and Rodney Crosier recovered for North on the 11-yard line. Fessel punched his way through the line for the touchdown. North was finally on the board at 21-7 with 2:15 remaining in the half.
Just a few ticks later, Perry’s Clint Bryant appeared to have a first down for his club when the ball popped loose again; this time it was recovered by North Harrison’s Lance Mitchell.
Fessel scored for the second time on a 14-yard run, but the play was called back because of clipping.
No problem. With 8 seconds left, Greg Hamilton hit a streaking Duane Haas with an amazing 44-yard pass play for the Cougar’s second touchdown. The extra point pulled North Harrison within a touchdown at the half, 21-14.
“At halftime, the kids still believed they were in the ball game,” Haskell said. “Being beat deep like we had been over and over, I think that started to have an impact. They just beat us in the backfield.”
North’s first possession of the third quarter ended when Perry’s Eric Carr picked off a Hamilton option pitch. With 6:32 left, on fourth down and seven, Hubert hit Krieg in the corner of the end zone for six more points. The point-after doubled the Cougars’ deficit, 28-14.
Perry never looked back.
“We didn’t defend the pass well, and our line didn’t put enough pressure on them. Perry Central came out hard the second half, but I think even though they played well, we let up. That, to me, made a big difference,” Haskell said.
His team’s passing defense probably earned a D-, Haskell said, but he was not about to let the Cougars quit this early in the season.
“I think just getting beat deep so many times was what was getting discouraging,” said Haskell. “It’s fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, fool me three or four times, then it starts to be getting a real mental game.
“It wasn’t that we played bad defense all night. It was just key plays. It was something that I thought we had gotten past after last week.”
“I’m not going to let them get down. They may hate me at the end of the season, but I’m not going to let them be quitters.”