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North rally falls short to Brownstown, 38-27

‘Why can’t we play a full game?’
That was the question North Harrison football coach Jason Mullis tossed out to just about anybody who happened to be listening in the fourth quarter as his team came up short to visiting Brownstown, 38-27, Friday night in a Mid-Southern Conference showdown.
‘I thought our kids played really hard the second half,’ he said. ‘I’m proud of the way they played the second half. To be down the way we were and fight back the way we did shows a little bit about our team. I think we learned about something tonight.’
Brownstown, mostly known for its passing game, moved the ball on the ground on its first possession, using 16 plays to get into the end zone. Josh Silvers, a 310-pound running back, plowed his way in from three yards out for the touchdown with 4:38 left in first quarter. Quarterback Alex McPike threw to Silvers for the two-point conversion and the Braves led 8-0.
Brownstown got the ball back on the next play, after North Harrison’s Bryan Schroeder, who returned the kickoff, fumbled while heading down field.
Brownstown, beginning on the Cougar 34-yard line, moved the ball to the NH 18 on two plays. On the drive’s third play, McPike was sacked by Isaac Davis, losing two yards.
However, a minute and a half after scoring on their first drive, the Braves were back in the end zone, scoring on a 21-yard Levi Shiner run. Shiner also ran in the two-point conversion attempt to put Brownstown on top 16-0.
‘That first fumble on the kick return really hurt us and put us in a bad spot,’ Mullis said. ‘That just gave them the motivation.’
North Harrison moved the ball to the Brownstown 15 on its next possession, but then got hit for an eight-yard loss. After Schroeder got two of those back, quarterback Michael Dean threw to Corey Foreman in the end zone, but the pass was broken up by Wayne Bush, forcing the Cougars to give the ball up on downs.
The Braves mixed things up on their next drive and got into the end zone with 4:07 to go in the half, upping their lead to 22-0.
North Harrison moved the ball to the Braves’ 10, but failed to score, leaving North Harrison down by 22 at halftime.
Mullis said he used the halftime break to rekindle his team’s fire.
‘It was just a matter of us getting charged,’ he said. ‘I think the fumble took our wind out. We were down 16-0. When we got back on the field, we took it all the way down, then we got a tackle for a loss. That’s tough for us. We don’t want to lose yardage. We’ve got backs that can carry the ball.’
Schroeder, who suffered a slight reinjury of his ankle in the first half, didn’t play in the third quarter. In his absence, Davis and Zellars moved the ball to the Brownstown 10, but then North Harrison missed on two pass attempts, giving the ball up on downs.
On the second play of its next possession, Brownstown fumbled the ball, with North Harrison’s Derek Rainbolt getting the recovery on the Braves’ 48.
Dean then threw a 21-yard strike to Davis, advancing to the Braves’ 6. The NH quarterback then ran the keeper to give the Cougars their first touchdown.
Brownstown wasted no time getting the points back. Shiner returned the kick off 68 yards to the North Harrison twenty yard-line. Following a Dustin Allman first down, a Cougar face mask penalty moved the ball to the NH 3.
After Silvers got one yard, McPike went in on the keeper to score. A two-point conversion made the score 30-6.
At that point, it was the Cougars’ turn to turn up the heat. Davis returned the ball 45 yards to the 19-yard line. Six plays later, Dean got his second touchdown of the night with a one-yard run, and following Dustin Robertson’s extra point kick, the Cougar deficit was cut to 30-13.
After Brownstown went three-and-out on its next possession, the North Harrison ground game bulled to the Braves’ 7. With 6:07 to go in the game, Schroeder scored and Brownstown’s lead was cut to nine, 30-21.
The Braves, however, scored on their next drive, Casey Maxie running in from three yards out and also getting the two-point conversion, pushing Brownstown’s lead to 38-21.
With just under two minutes to go, North Harrison also scored again when Dean hit Schroeder on a 53-yard pass play. The Cougars, however, failed on the conversion leaving the deficit at 11.
The Cougars got one more chance in the final minute after the Braves gave the ball up on downs. Schroeder took the ball to the 43 and then Dean hit Foreman again for a first down at the Brownstown 34.
However, the Cougars tried three passes that went incomplete and then Dean mishandled the ball on the Cougars’ final play. Brownstown took a knee and the win.
‘If we had played four quarters of football the way we played the second half, we would have won this game,’ Mullis said. ‘Defensively, we started stopping them in the second half. We didn’t do that the first half. We had to clear a few things up at halftime.’
Schroeder led the Cougars with 141 rushing yards on 16 carries and had two touchdowns. Davis carried 10 times for 52 yards, and Zellars had seven carries for 34 yards. Dean had six carries for 36 yards and two touchdowns and completed 4 of 12 passes for 103 yards.
‘Schroeder getting hurt the first half really hurt, but I thought Isaac and Zellars really stepped it up and drove the ball for us,’ Mullis said.
The North Harrison coach said despite the conference loss his team is still in the running for at least a share of the crown.
‘That’s what I want them to understand,’ Mullis said. ‘We’re like everybody else now. Everybody else had been beaten. We’ve got to keep our heads up and play.’
North Harrison (4-2, 1-1) travels to M.S.C. foe Clarksville (3-3, 2-2) on Friday night in a 7:30 game.
The Generals, who won last year’s game against North, 27-6, are coming off a 26-16 loss to Charlestown.
Clarksville is 7-3 against the Cougars over the last 10 years.