The North Harrison Cougars made school history Friday night when they topped visiting Mid-Southern Conference opponent Clarksville 53-7 to earn their first Mid-Southern Conference football championship. The win also improved the Cougars’ unblemished record to 8-0 with one regular season game remaining.
The Cougars had six touchdowns in the first half, with Austin Nevil doing most of the damage with four of those. Nevil scored his first three TDs in the first quarter on runs of 17, 58 and 31 yards. He followed that with the first touchdown of the second quarter on an 18-yard run for a 27-0 lead after the point-after attempt failed.
‘We thought it was going to be a tailback game as opposed to the fullback game,’ Class 3A No. 8 North Harrison coach Mark Williamson said. ‘It’s kind of been that way. It depends on how we get played defensively determines whether we play a tailback game or fullback game. Tonight was a tailback game.’
Clarksville coughed up the ball on its next possession, and the Cougars recovered. North Harrison then went to the air as quarterback Avery Blocker connected with Ethan Hamby for a 68-yard touchdown and a 34-0 Cougar lead.
Blocker later threw to Trey Nuerzi for a 32-yard passing score, as North Harrison took a 41-0 lead to the locker room at the break.
‘We wanted to play well the first half, and we did that,’ Williamson said. ‘I think we had no penalties, no fumbles and scored every possession, then get the young kids in the second half. That’s what we did.’
Nevil put himself in the end zone for a fifth time just a minute and a half into the third period with a 48-yard touchdown run and a 47-0 lead for North Harrison.
At that point, Williamson gave his junior varsity team some needed playing time. The younger players didn’t disappoint as Tristen Griffin scored on a one-yard run for a 53-0 lead.
‘That’s our future, and that’s a good JV team,’ the North Harrison coach said. ‘They’re undefeated. Nobody in our locker room has tasted defeat this year.’
The Generals had one bright spot in the game, that coming in the final minute. With 32.8 seconds left, De’Shawn Baker scored on a two-yard run, giving Clarksville its first touchdown in seven games. Max Segoviano got the extra point for a 53-7 final.
Williamson said the lopsided score allowed his team to do some experimenting to see what worked and what didn’t.
‘We had a couple of different formations and some misdirection stuff that really didn’t work too well,’ he said. ‘We know our identity, and that’s when we’re at our best. We just buckle down and come right at you.’
Nevil had a big senior night with 234 yards on 12 rushing attempts and five touchdowns. Sam Best had 117 yards on nine carries. The Cougars ran the ball 42 times for 466 yards and completed two of five passes for 62 yards for a total of 528 yards. North Harrison doubled Clarksville on first downs, 18-9.
The Generals had 161 yards on 39 carries and no pass completions on seven attempts.
North Harrison has one remaining regular season game before the sectional, a road trip to Paoli.
Williamson said his team will go in intending to do business to set a new milestone for his Cougars.
‘That’s a big game,’ Williamson said. ‘We haven’t beaten Paoli (since 2006), and it’s for an undefeated season. That’s rare. You play with an undefeated team, that’s rarified air. I’ve been coaching and playing for 41 years, and I’ve seen it three times, when I was at a really good program for a lot of those years.
‘It’s rarified air when you get undefeated, so our focus is on that, finishing this season, and then we’ll look at the sectional.’
Clarksville 0 0 0 7 ‘ 7
North Harrison 21 20 12 0 ‘ 53
NH ‘ Austin Nevil 17 run (Ben Waynescott kick); NH ‘ Nevil 58 run (Waynescott kick); NH ‘ Nevil 31 run (Waynescott kick); NH ‘ Nevil 18 run (kick failed); NH ‘ Ethan Hamby 68 pass from Avery Blocker (Waynescott kick); NH ‘ Trey Nuerzi 32 pass from Blocker (Waynescott kick); NH ‘ Nevil 48 run (kick failed); NH ‘ Tristen Griffin 1 run (kick failed); C ‘ De’Shawn Baker 2 run (Max Segoviano kick).