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Cougars blank visiting Bosse to advance to sectional semi-final

Cougars blank visiting Bosse to advance to sectional semi-final
Cougars blank visiting Bosse to advance to sectional semi-final
North Harrison’s Matthew Nealy (14) and Brodey Miller (48) gobble up running back Jaiden Thomas of Evansville Bosse in Friday night’s sectional victory in Ramsey, 49-0. Photo by Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer

For Evansville Bosse, a delay for thunder and lightning in the skies over Ramsey gave way to thunder and lightning on the football field in the form of North Harrison seniors Colby Whittaker and Aaron Nevil in Friday night’s opening round of Class 3A Sectional 32.

The fleet-footed Whittaker rushed 12 times for 157 yards and reached the end zone four times — all in the first half — while Nevil bulldozed his way to 255 yards and three touchdowns of his own to account for nearly all of their team’s offensive yards as the Cougars shut out Bosse in a chilly, windy and wet affair, 49-0.

North Harrison (7-4) held Bosse (0-9) to only one first down in the first half and just three more the rest of the way as the Cougars easily advanced to the sectional semi-final round to face Salem (6-2), which North Harrison defeated 26-20 in an overtime thriller in the lid-lifter to the season. The Lions’ only other setback this year came at the hands of Silver Creek, which finished the regular season undefeated.

“It’s not the same Salem team we played in the first week, but I don’t feel like we are the same team, either. We had a lot of adversity in that game with (quarterback Colt) Beach being knocked out, and we had a chance to knock them out but had a holding call and a sack and then Beach is out. We couldn’t have thrown the ball even if we wanted to at that point,” North Harrison coach Mark Williamson said of the previous matchup. “Salem is going to be foaming at the mouth, and they’d love nothing better than to beat us to play in the sectional championship. We have to have a very good week of practice and focus.”

Nevil set the tone early Friday with three straight first-down runs to set up Whittaker, who sliced his way through the line and raced away to a 32-yard score. Senior kicker Matthew Nealy hit the first of his seven PATs to make it 7-0 with 10:57 left in the first quarter.

After holding Bosse to a three-and-out, North Harrison scored again as Whittaker capped a 74-yard drive with a two-yard plunge to end the first-period scoring.

The Cougars had four more touchdowns in the second frame.

Nevil carried in from 22 yards on the first play of the quarter and again from eight yards away on North Harrison’s next possession. Whittaker offered up a pair of long runs for his scores from 20 yards and 32 yards to set the half-time mark at 42-0.

“He’s a good change of pace for us,” Williamson said of Whittaker.

Thanks to a running clock in the second half, there wasn’t much offense to be had the rest of the way. Nevil had a four-yard touchdown run to end a 58-yard drive as well as end the scoring for the night with 3:04 left in the third quarter.

Bosse was held to 39 yards of rushing and 39 yards passing, with sophomore Jaiden Thomas (46 yards) and junior Joseph McElroy (39 yards) leading the way.

“As coaches, we think we’re getting better and how much better we’ll find out Friday night,” he said. “We’re doing the things we are needing to do and are playing hard. Are we getting better? I think we are.”

In the other Sectional 32 semifinal Friday, Gibson Southern (7-3) will travel to undefeated Southridge (10-0) for a 7:30 p.m. start at Raider Field in Huntingburg. Southridge is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A.

The three teams that defeated North Harrison this season (Charlestown, Brownstown Central and Silver Creek) lost in the opening round of the sectional. The last remaining teams waving the Mid-Southern Conference flag are North Harrison, Salem and Scottsburg, which got a first-round pass due to a high number of football players at Rushville (0-9) requiring to be quarantined due to COVID-19. The Warriors will host 9-1 Lawrenceburg.

Tickets for Friday night’s game (kick-off is set for 7) at Graves Field in Salem are $6 and can be purchased in advance at the high school office or at the gate. To follow health department guidelines in Washington County, all spectators are required to wear a mask when entering and when they cannot socially distance. Fans also will be required to give their name and phone number for COVID-19 contact tracing when entering the facility. North Harrison fans should park in the Salem Middle School parking lot and enter through the visitor’s gate in the north end of the football field.

Evansville Bosse               0     0     0     0 –   0

North Harrison                  14   28     7     0 – 49

North Harrison – Colby Whittaker, 32, run (Matthew Nealy kick); North Harrison – Whittaker, 2, run (Nealy kick); North Harrison – Aaron Nevil, 22, run (Nealy kick); North Harrison – Nevil, 8, run (Nealy kick); North Harrison – Whittaker, 20, run (Nealy kick); North Harrison – Whittaker, 32, run (Nealy kick); North Harrison – Nevil, 4, run (Nealy kick).