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Bruderle touchdown seals win

Bruderle touchdown seals win
Bruderle touchdown seals win
North Harrison sophomore Matt Bruderle scores one of three touchdowns, one TD was the game winner with 21 seconds left. (Photo by Wade Bell)

North Harrison sophomore running back Matt Bruderle carried the ball 33 times Friday night against visiting Clarksville, but the biggest came with just 21 seconds left as Bruderle broke through the Generals’ defense for the game-winning touchdown. Right after that, he also got the two-point conversion to ensure a 36-30 win for the Cougars.
‘It was exciting,’ Bruderle said. ‘In the fourth quarter, that last drive proved what we really are.’
‘We were 1-3 coming into this game, and even with the losses that we’ve had and some of the bad ones that we’ve had, they’ve never quit,’ North Harrison coach Jason Mullis said of his team. ‘I’ve never worried about them dropping their heads. Salem was probably the only game, and we’ve really corrected that. They fought hard against Paoli.’
North Harrison got on the board early with two touchdowns in the first quarter. Bruderle had the first, then Matt Yeats found running room for the second for a 14-0 lead.
Corey Bowen finally gave the Generals something to cheer about with 32 seconds to go in the quarter, when he ran 76 yards to the end zone.
In the second quarter, there was just a single touchdown. North Harrison fumbled the ball with less than 4:30 left in the half. The Generals converted on the turnover when Clarksville’s Drew Farney threw a 49-yard pass to Jared Loo. One thing North Harrison was getting done was stopping the conversion, keeping its lead at 14-12 at the break.
A weapon the Cougars has been missing was back with the return of Corey Isaac. The missed back carried the ball seven times in the half, taking some of the pressure off Bruderle.
‘We were afraid to use him a lot because we wanted to make sure his legs were there,’ Mullis said. ‘I probably didn’t do a good enough job getting the other guys the ball tonight. It was such a tight game. We jumped on them early and I was thinking, ‘Why get away from what’s working for us?’ ‘
Bruderle started the second half with an 81-yard kickoff return for a 21-12 North Harrison lead.
Clarksville continued to keep the game tight, however, as Nathan Masters scored on a 4-yard run.
With 3:12 left, Matt Johnson threw to Levi Simpson for a score, and the Cougars took a 28-18 lead at the end of three.
But then the Generals made things more interesting. With 5:07 to go in the game, Masters scored again on a 3-yard run. At the 3:16 mark, North Harrison was forced to punt, and with 2:54 left, Drew Farney threw to Thomas Threatt, and the Generals had a 30-28 lead.
‘We thought we had enough (time) to get there and we had a few plays go our way,’ Mullis said. ‘The line did an excellent (job) blocking up front, and the guys did a good job.’
Clarksville’s kickoff went out of bounds, and North Harrison forced the Generals to move back five yards for a re-kick. Jacob Snook took the next short kick, giving the Cougars good field position on their own 45-yard line for the final drive.
‘We said whoever gets (the kickoff) advance it as far as you can,’ Mullis said. ‘Jacob Snook recovered it and advanced it seven yards for us. That was a big play. He got us the ball down here (at midfield). We just told our guys we’re going to do what we do and just stick to our running game. We went right at them. We started wearing on them.’
North Harrison kept the ball on the ground with Bruderle doing most of the carrying. With 40 seconds left, Bruderle ran to the 2-yard line, then carried to inside of the 1. North Harrison then called time-out for the next play. Bruderle took the call and got into the end zone for a 34-30 lead. The North Harrison sophomore also got the two-point conversion for the final 36-30 score.
‘It was nerve-wracking because they kept calling my play, and I thought they were going to figure out what’s going on,’ Bruderle said. ‘The line, they gave a great push and I got in the end zone, and it was great. Then, the two-point conversion, I just kept my head down and I ran. I hit the guy right at the end zone and I fell in. It was a good feeling about that.’
The North Harrison sophomore gave a lot of praise to his front line for getting him there.
‘The line was great,’ Bruderle said. ‘I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. In no way is there any better line than what I have right now. I couldn’t thank them anymore because I can’t do this stuff by myself.’
Bruderle’s 33 carries were good for 142 yards. The Cougars (2-3, 2-1 MSC) had 212 of their total 242 yards on 56 carries and completed all four of their passing attempts.
‘Last week, he had a breakout game against Paoli,’ Mullis said. ‘He had 24 carries for 278 (yards). That was his breakout game. Tonight, we got a lot of guys in there. Bruderle is our powerback … Bruderle is only a sophomore and benches 275. He’s just a stud for a 15-year-old kid. It’s nice to have a big back like that.’
Clarksville (2-4, 2-3 MSC) had 388 total yards of offense, 28 carries for 169 yards and 10-of-16 passing for 219 yards. The big stat for the Generals was the four missed conversions and the lone failed extra-point attempt.
‘I was pleased with the way we played,’ said Mullis. ‘Defensively, we played better. They still had big plays against us but with that type of speed that we have, you’re going to have some of those big plays. Overall, I thought we played a better defensive game from start to finish.’