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Big, big blue crush: North Harrison 61, Paoli 0

At Charlestown two weeks ago, North Harrison gave the Pirates a 13-point head start before running off 40 points for its first win of the season.
Last Friday night at home against Paoli, with three running backs totaling more than 450 yards, the Cougars added 61 more unanswered points, shutting out the Rams, 61-0.
It was the first time North Harrison had crossed the 60-point plateau since a 1982 game against West Washington, when it scored 63 points in a 63-20 win.
‘Last week, we were down 13-0 and the kids just kept pushing,’ North Harrison coach Jason Mullis said. ‘We’re running the ball well now. (Cory) Beckman, (Bryan) Schroeder and (Brendan) Zellers had a big night. Those three guys really brought it in. They carried a nice load tonight.’
North (2-2) got off to a shaky start, receiving four penalties in the first two minutes. That quickly changed as the Cougars got on the scoreboard when Beckman broke loose for a 47-yard touchdown run. Bart Robertson got the extra point to give his team a 7-0 lead.
It was only a few minutes later before the Cougars scored again. Schroeder returned a Paoli punt to the 45-yard line. With just over four minutes to go in the quarter, it was Zellers who got loose for another 47-yard TD. Robertson had the kick again, and the Cougars were quickly pulling away, 14-0.
‘We wanted to work a little bit of our passing game, which we tried to do early,’ Mullis said. ‘That’s our weakness right now. We tried to work on it as much as possible. When we get the younger guys in there, it’s kind of hard to go with our passing game. We didn’t want to leave our passing guys in and go with our passing game, because it just doesn’t show very well.’
North Harrison scored three times in the second period, with Schroeder, Zellers and Beckman each getting a touchdown. With 19 seconds left in the half, sophomore Chris Rawert also got one, after taking a pass from quarterback Michael Dean. One extra point was missed, leaving the score at 41-0 at halftime.
At the break, Paoli had just 28 yards rushing and seven passing yards, while North Harrison had 260 yards rushing. It was the early penalties, however, that bothered Mullis the most.
‘The penalties thing really aggravates me right now,’ Mullis said. ‘We’ve got to take care of that. When we play a Brownstown or Corydon, the little things count. We’ve got to get the little things right. We didn’t play a clean game tonight. Offensively and defensively, we had some penalties that really put us in a hole. We’ve got to get better at that.’
Schroeder and Beckman had the next two touchdowns, Beckman’s coming on a 45-yard run early in the third and Schroeder’s coming with 4:30 to go when he intercepted a Paoli pass and raced 60 yards to give NH a 54-0 lead.
Schroeder also got the last touchdown of the game, on another 47-yard run with 4:12 left in the fourth quarter after Paoli turned the ball over.
‘I don’t think Paoli crossed the 50 until the third quarter,’ Mullis said. ‘Defensively, we played well, but we’ve been playing well defensively all year so far. I know it’s the first shutout in a long time. They’re definitely playing well.’
The last shutout by the Cougars came in 2000 in the Big Cat Classic, 27-0 over Corydon.
‘The running game looked good,’ Mullis said. ‘We threw the ball decent. We were able to complete a screen when we got in a hole and get it back. That really helped. It was just a nice, all-around ball game.’
Beckman led North Harrison’s rushing game with 188 yards on 13 carries. Schroeder had nine carries for 174 yards, and Zellers’ two carries were good for 100 yards. The Cougars rushed for a total 473 yards. North Harrison’s eight completed passes were good for 78 yards, for 551 yards of total offense.
‘We were just running base plays,’ Mullis said. ‘We played a lot of players and rotated those backs in a lot. Zellers took it to the house a couple of times. Beckman did a nice job. Schroeder does a nice job. We’ve got a nice little back-attack right now.
‘Our line played an excellent job. Our line has really stepped it up the last three weeks. They started getting their groove against Perry (Central), and at Charlestown they really found their niche. Tonight, they were blowing big holes for the running backs. Our running backs do a nice job when they get the ball, but if they don’t get the ball, the line’s not doing what they’re supposed to do. So, hats off to the line tonight.’
Despite the lopsided win, Mullis said there are still several things that need to be worked on with some major competition on the way.
‘We’ve got to work on the passing game because when we face Corydon and those big boys up front, the Brownstowns and stuff like that,’ he said.
‘We’re going to have to have another weapon. Brownstown is very quick. We’re going to have to be able to throw the ball. We need a little bit more balance from where we’ve been the last two weeks,’ he said.
‘That’s something we’re going to be working on the next weeks. Springs Valley is pretty good defensively. We’re going to have to be ready. Our main goal is to get rid of the penalties and get better at the passing game.’
The Cougars host Springs Valley this Friday in an 8 p.m. start.
The Blackhawks (1-3) are coming off a 21-20 loss to Mitchell, and their only win was against Paoli.

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