Turnovers costly for NH in season opening loss to WW
The season-opening game for the North Harrison football squad was one the team will want to quickly put behind them before hosting Corydon Central Friday in the Big Cat Classic.
‘Six turnovers don’t help,’ coach Jason Mullis said.
The turnovers told the story for the Cougars, which were impossible to overcome in a 48-19 loss at West Washington.
North Harrison’s turnover troubles began early.
After the defense forced West Washington to turn the ball over on downs on its first possession, first-year quarterback Matt Bruderle threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Taylor Proffitt.
West Washington put another score on the board before the Cougars could muster a first down, which came on a deep pass connection from Bruderle to sophomore Michael Cox. The drive ended with another interception, this time on fourth down. Bruderle had no other option but to attempt the pass on fourth down, and the play didn’t significantly advance West Washington’s field position.
The Senators led a methodical drive that culminated in Trevor Nice’s second rushing touchdown, making the score 22-0.
On the Cougars’ ensuing possession, Bruderle found Cox for a completion, but he fumbled while trying to avoid tacklers and West Washington recovered.
Dale Roll quickly made up for his teammate’s fumble by hauling in an interception to give the ball back to the Cougars.
But the possession ended with another turnover, this time with the Cougars giving the ball over on downs.
The North Harrison defense held and got the ball back, only to have the offense fumble it away again, for the fifth turnover of the half.
West Washington put two more scores on the board before the Cougar offense came to life.
Trailing 35-0 late in the second quarter, running back Jimmy Slucher, Bruderle and Matt Yeats combined for an 80-yard scoring drive. Slucher took it in from the 6-yard line for the first touchdown of the season. Zack Stephenson added the extra point and then rocked the kick-off into the end zone for a touchback.
The Senators marched into Cougar territory but were pushed back by consecutive defensive stops from freshman Taylor Jones. Jones sacked Kendal Rosenbaum then broke up his pass attempt on fourth down.
Bruderle completed another deep ball to Cox just before the clock ran out, ending the first half.
The third quarter saw just one score, a Rosenbaum 4-yard run for West Washington.
The fourth quarter was all Bruderle. The junior, who has collected more than 3,000 yards in two years (at tailback), ran for two scores, one for 66 yards and the other for 29 yards.
Despite the turnovers, Mullis was happy with his quarterback’s play.
‘He had a good game,’ he said. ‘We threw more than we ever have, and we gained more (through the air) than we ever have.’
Bruderle completed 9 of 20 passes for 150 yards.
Also responsible for punting duties, Bruderle smashed a 47-yard punt in the second half to pin the Senators deep.
The new, more spread-out offense is still a work in progress, Mullis said, but he guaranteed it will get better on a week-by-week basis.
‘We’ll get better; we’ll get rolling,’ he said.
The rushing attack, which also received contributions from Michael Cundiff and Ryan Rennirt, was still potent for the Cougars, totaling 226 yards.
North Harrison 0 7 6 6 ‘ 19
West Washington 22 13 7 6 ‘ 48
West Washington ‘ Proffitt 30-yard interception return (Morrow run); West Washington ‘ Nice 1 run (Proffitt kick); West Washington ‘ Nice 6 run (Proffitt kick); West Washington ‘ Nice 3 run (Proffitt kick); West Washington ‘ Nice 63 pass from Rosenbaum (kicked failed); North Harrison ‘ Slucher 6 run (Stephenson kick); West Washington ‘ Rosenbaum 4 run (Profitt kick); North Harrison ‘ Bruderle 66 run (kick failed); West Washington ‘ King 84 kickoff return (kick failed); North Harrison ‘ Bruderle 29 run (kick failed).