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Dragons clip Cougars, 27-24

Dragons clip Cougars, 27-24
Dragons clip Cougars, 27-24
North Harrison’s Colten Hickman runs for a big gainer against Silver Creek early in the second half of the Cougars’ 27-24 loss to the Dragons. Photo by Wade Bell
Wade Bell, Sports Writer

The North Harrison Cougars had upset on their mind as they went head to head against visiting Silver Creek on a Friday homecoming night at the school. For three quarters, the Cougars matched everything the Dragons had to offer. Then came the fourth quarter, and three mistakes by the Cougars proved to be costly, leading to a 27-24 loss in the Mid-Southern Conference contest.

“I just can’t get over the fact that we beat ourselves through penalties,” said North Harrison coach Mark Williamson.

The Dragons had possession of the ball first and took just over two minutes to get into the end zone with Trey Schoen scoring on a two-yard run. The extra point failed, however, and Silver Creek was left with a 6-0 lead.

North Harrison worked the ball on the ground on its first possession to the Silver Creek 39-yard line. Quarterback Colt Beach threw to Kaleb Kellems into the red zone, but Kellems caught the ball just out of bounds. The Cougars made no gains on their next two plays and was forced to give up the ball.

Silver Creek had no return of North Harrison’s punt and started back on its 15-yard line. On the next play, Schoen gained two yards. On the next one, however, Silver Creek had its biggest offensive play of the game when Schoen ran 88 yards to score for the second time of the quarter. This time, Carly Troutman put her extra point through the uprights, and Silver Creek led 13-0 after one quarter.

North Harrison kept the ball on the ground into the second quarter with Sawyer Wetzel doing most of the damage. The Cougars moved the ball to the one-foot line and, with less than two minutes into the period, Beach pushed straight into the end zone. Wetzel got the two-point conversion, and Silver Creek’s lead was cut to five.

Silver Creek failed to score on its next drive, hurt by a holding penalty and two plays combining for a 37-yard loss. The Cougars started on their own 27 for their next drive and kept the ball on the ground again. Midway through the drive, Wetzel had two plays good for 37 yards. Colten Hickman followed that with a 14-yard run for a first down to the 17-yard line. The Cougars ran five more plays resulting in Wetzel scoring with 2:14 to go in the half. The North Harrison junior got his second two-point conversion, and the Cougars went to the locker room with a 16-13 edge at the break.

“Our O-line came to play for the first time after the first drive,” Williamson said.

There was only one touchdown in the third quarter; it belonged to Silver Creek when Schoen got his third TD on the night on a two-yard run. The Cougars blocked Troutman’s extra point, and the Dragons’ advantage was just three, 19-16.

The Cougars looked to be on their way to another six, moving the ball to the 10-yard line by the end of the period. A no-gainer, however, meant that North Harrison would start the fourth quarter with a field-goal attempt to try to tie the game at 19. That kick, however, fell short, leaving the Dragons with a three-point edge.

Silver Creek went three and out on its next possession, and North Harrison took over on its own 38. Wetzel moved the ball to near midfield but, on the next two plays, the Cougars were hit with back-to-back holding calls, leaving North Harrison at first and 30. The Cougars went to the air on their next play but saw that go really bad when Joe Lemon intercepted and returned the ball to the 23-yard line. Seven plays later, LaShun Mays carried the ball six yards into the end zone. Darius Gray completed a pass to Schoen for the conversion, and Silver Creek led 27-16.

North Harrison ran its first two plays of its next possession on the ground then called timeout. Following the break, the Cougars went to the air, Beach completing three straight passes to Riley Schneider and Wetzel to the 27-yard line. That momentum carried over into the next play when Beach hit Wetzel again down the right side for six. Wetzel completed the Cougars’ third straight conversion, and the Dragons led by three with 2:05 to go in the game.

North Harrison went for the onside kick on the next play and that went to the Cougars’ favor when Wetzel jumped on the live ball on the Silver Creek 37-yard line. On the next play, Wetzel got two more yards. Disaster then struck on the following play when Wetzel had the ball stripped from his hands. Silver Creek recovered, ran one play, then took a knee twice to secure the 27-24 win.

“It goes back to those two holding penalties,” Williamson said. “We’ve been a penalized team all year. It started creeping in last year. If you watch North Harrison football play over the last seven or eight years, we normally have two or three penalties a game, if that. We are way too penalized, and we beat ourselves.”

Wetzel led the Cougars with 145 yards rushing on 26 carries, and Hickman had eight carries for 49 yards. Owen Whittaker carried the ball eight times for 19 yards and Beach ran six times for 12 yards. The Cougars completed 4-of-7 passes for 60 yards flight time.

“He had a good game on both sides of the ball,” Williamson said of Wetzel. “He’s a football player. He’s coming back next year, and he’s a good kid. He’s a three-sport guy and, if it wasn’t for our three-sport guys, I don’t think we’d even have the two wins we do have.”

Schoen led Silver Creek with 158 yards on 14 carries, and Mays had 64 yards on 11 carries. The Dragons completed all three of their pass attempts for 44 yards.

“We’re getting better,” Williamson said. “That’s the goal, to keep getting better, but nobody’s happy being 2-5.”

Silver Creek                   13     0     6     8 – 27

North Harrison                0   16     0     8 – 24

Silver Creek-Trey Schoen, 6 yd run (kick failed); Silver Creek-Schoen, 88 yd run (Carly Troutman kick); North Harrison-Colt Beach, 1 yd run (Sawyer Wetzel conv); North Harrison-Wetzel, 2 yd run (Wetzel conv); Silver Creek-Schoen, 2 yd run (kick failed); Silver Creek-LaShun Mays, 6 yd run (Schoen from Darius Gray conv); North Harrison-Wetzel from Beach, 27 yd pass (Wetzel conv).