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Charlestown blanks Cougars, 56-0

Charlestown blanks Cougars, 56-0
Charlestown blanks Cougars, 56-0
Charlestown quarterback Aaron Daniel, left, tries to break free from the grasp of North HarrisonÂ’s Mason Miller as MillerÂ’s teammates Zach Burdin (72) and Caleb Eskridge (40) give chase in Friday nightÂ’s Sectional 23 opener at Dutch Reis Memorial Field in Charlestown. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

North Harrison was out-muscled and out-hustled in the opening round of Class 3A Sectional 23 action Friday night at Dutch Reis Memorial Field in Charlestown.
Powered by 5-10 junior running back Seth McCutchen’s five-touchdown, 201-yard rushing night, the host Pirates had no trouble dispatching North Harrison, 56-0, to advance to this Friday’s semi-final round, when they host Corydon Central.
Charlestown (8-2), which defeated North on Sept. 9, 49-13, held the Cougars (4-6) to just 98 yards of total offense. The Pirates defense held the visitors to 0-9 on third downs, just seven first downs for the game, and intercepted freshman quarterback Jack Phelps three times, including one pick-six in the second quarter. Even the winner’s second-string defensive unit stepped up and held off a late-game drive to keep North out of the end zone.
‘They were the more physical team and the better team tonight,’ North Harrison first-year coach Greg Burton said of Charlestown. ‘Defensively, we wanted to try to hold them in check, but the problem in trying to stop them is their two big playmakers in the backfield. You can’t stop both of them. You try to stop one and the other one will step up big. They are a good football team.’
All the scoring Charlestown needed came with 8:19 left in the opening period when the team’s star quarterback, 6-0 junior Aaron Daniel, capped a 10-play, 76-yard drive with a two-yard plunge. Daniel also kicked the team’s extra point for a 7-0 lead.
After forcing North’s second three-and-out, Charlestown scored again on McCutchen’s first TD of the night to end the first-period scoring.
The Pirates scored three more times in the second quarter, in the first 6:18, with McCutchen going round right end for a 50-yard score and taking an option pitch from Daniel five yards for a touchdown, and Gage Brafford picking off a Phelps pass and racing down the sideline 26 yards for a 35-0 halftime lead.
Charlestown notched three more scores in the third: Brafford scored from 50 yards out, and McCutchen making his fourth and fifth trips to the end zone on runs of 26 and 45 yards. The third period ended with the Pirates on top, 56-0.
A running clock was used in the final stanza, where North mounted its most serious threat of the night.
Senior running back Michael Cox, who rushed 26 times for 69 yards, kicked off the eight-play drive from midfield with a 30-yard run. Two plays later he scooted 10 more yards to bring up goal to go from the 10. The drive stalled, however, just inside the 10.
‘My first day was June 6 and from then to when the season started, these guys have worked hard. We had 40 guys in the weight room getting their workouts in. They were ready for this season to begin,’ Burton said. ‘Last year, they worked hard without the results and this year they were able to win a few games.’
The four wins by the Cougars this year was more than the previous two years combined and the most since a 7-2 mark in 2006.
Charlestown, which rushed for 336 yards, gained 17 first downs to North’s seven. The Cougars held Daniel in check as he threw for 55 yards on 4-15 passing, and he ran 11 times for 59 yards. Phelps was 5-13 for 21 yards passing.
‘I told him before the game he wasn’t coming out and that he was going to get out there and play and learn. Hopefully, he did that,’ Burton said.
North was penalized just once for five yards, while Charlestown was flagged seven times for 55 yards.
After Cox, North got 15 yards rushing from senior Ryan Rennirt. The Cougars’ leading receiver was Derrick Harter with one reception for 14 yards.