Terre Haute North’s defense struck the first blow to the Class 5A No. 3 Castle Knights, intercepting sophomore quarterback Will Randell’s first pass attempt.
Safety Austin Massey stayed disciplined on the play-action fake, hauled in the deep pass attempt, and the Patriots' offense scored five plays and less than three minutes later.
Tailback Ricky Brookins took the first North play from scrimmage 42 yards, added a 28-yarder and punched it in the end zone from four yards out thanks to an outstanding second effort.
Later in the first quarter, Brookins burst into the end zone from 22 yards out to put him over 100 yards rushing. He gained 160 of his 172 yards by halftime. The Patriots took a 44-0 lead in the third quarter on Brookins’ third TD en route to a 44-14 victory in Friday’s nightcap in the Horseshoe Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Brookins was awarded with Most Valuable Player honors at midfield following the game. He was humble in deflecting praise to teammates.
“Just running the ball, and the receivers are doing their job and the linemen are doing everything perfectly,” Brookins said. “They’re running down the field, running across the field [picking up blocks] and I have to thank them for that.”
Massey’s interception and another pick on Randell’s second pass attempt by Ryan Moshak set the tone early. The turnovers also showed how well prepared North’s defense was to shut down the Castle offense.
“I had a feeling going into the game that they would start off with a deep pass and take a shot,” Massey said. “Coaches taught me to stay back, i just read the ball through the air and made a play on it.”
North made the Knights pay for its miscues, scoring three times on possessions following Castle turnovers.
When Moshak picked off Randell’s second pass attempt, Chris Barrett II hit paydirt for his first completion of his senior season. Jordan Moothery got separation from his defender down the sideline and Barrett II hit him in stride for a 54-yard score to make it 13-0.
Barrett went 5-of-10 for 86 yards and two touchdowns, providing solid balance for an offense that compiled 289 rushing yards.
Kai Stratten, who had 78 yards on six carries, rumbled into the end zone for a 34-0 lead, and Zach Potter booted a 30-yard field goal on North’s following drive.
Barrett found Stratten for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it 44-0 at halftime.
The North running backs were dominant, and coach Chris Barrett also praised his big, mobile offensive line.
“Our line did a great job. … Our backs run hard, they’re explosive, they have good vision and balance. It also opened up our passing game a little bit. We got a couple big plays there,” Barrett said.
At halftime, Castle had 74 total yards never got deep into Patriots’ territory. While Castle lost much of its offense from last year’s 12-1 team, North’s first string was delivering hits and executing its assignments with precision through three shutout quarters.
“Defensively, we played extremely well, creating turnovers, being physical on tackles,” coach Barrett said. “You can tell they’re starting to respond to what we’re coaching them up to do.”
Castle 0 0 0 14 — 14
Terre Haute North 27 10 0 7 — 44
THN — Brookins 4 run (Potter kick), 8:40 1Q
THN — Moothery 54 yard pass from Barrett (kick failed), 6:17 1Q
THN — Brookins 22 TD run (Potter kick) 0:17 1Q
THN — Kai Stratten 19 run (Potter kick ), 7:41 1Q
THN — Potter 30 FG, 4:45 2Q
THN — Stratten 11 pass from Barrett (Potter kick), 2:28 3Q
THN — Brookins 1 run (Potter kick), 11:57 4Q
C — Parus 25 pass from Randell (run failed ), 5:59 4Q
C — Ison 23 pass from Randell (Randell run), 2:06 4Q
Next — Terre Haute North (1-0) plays host to Terre Haute South on Friday.