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High School

September 14, 2013

North loses 2-OT heartbreaker to Southport in Conference Indiana showdown

TERRE HAUTE — Forgive Chris Barrett if the Terre Haute North High School football coach feels a little snakebitten today.

Even though his Patriots shut out Class 6A’s 10th-ranked team in regulation time Friday night, it wasn’t enough for a Conference Indiana win as visiting Southport escaped with an 11-10 decision in two overtimes.

Southport tailback Christian Perry, coming off a 317-yard performance a week earlier, was held pretty much in check by Patriot defenders, but scored on a 3-yard run in the second overtime, then stepped through one potential tackle in his own backfield and beat a couple of other Patriots to the corner for the 2-point conversion that ended the defensive struggle.

“One of these days we’ll get a break,” Barrett said after the game, “but there’s no way I could be mad at [the Patriots]; they had an outstanding effort against a top-10 team in 6A.

“[The Cardinals] just made a play.”

“It was an ugly, ugly game,” said coach Bill Peebles of the visitors, who had been averaging 41 points per game so far this season and who had tallied 102 in their most recent two games. “We were very fortunate to come out with a victory.”

Although the game showed signs of being a punting duel throughout much of the first quarter, each team had substantial drives before halftime.

Southport took the ball 66 yards in four minutes on its third possession but was stopped when North’s Ricky Brookins picked off a pass in the end zone and headed for a touchdown on the second play of the second quarter. Officials ruled he wasn’t able to return a ball from the end zone.

Starting at their own 20-yard line, the Patriots then had the ball for five minutes, using a 22-yard reception and a 19-yard run by Kai Stratten to get in scoring range. A third-down completion to Jordan Moothery was ruled out of bounds, however, and a 32-yard field goal attempt was called no good because the ball had crossed over the goal post.

Southport picked up two first downs before Ethan Barrett made the tackle on a fourth-down shovel pass that turned the ball over to North. In the last two minutes of the half, an interception of a pass tipped from linebacker Trey Grim to safety Ryan Moshak was overturned — deep in Southport territory — and the Cardinals ran out the clock.

If there were adjustments made at halftime, they were defensive ones. Only once in the final two quarters did either team get more than one first down at a time.

North had a great opportunity when Grim recovered a fumbled punt on the second play of the fourth quarter, but a sack took the Patriots out of field goal range.

In the waning seconds of regulation time, North used its timeouts defensively and was rewarded with a 13-yard punt. Quarterback Chris Barrett II had two scrambles, getting out of bounds both times, but again a field goal attempt was deemed to be no good with 3.6 seconds left.

North won the toss and let Southport have the ball first in overtime. Stratten defended a third-down pass after the Patriots — led throughout the evening by Wyatt Stoelting and Vahn Billberry, among many others — shut down two running attempts. Jacob Jurgen finally put points on the board with a 22-yard field goal.

Brookins, who finished with 94 yards in 24 carries, burst up the middle for 7 yards on North’s first play, but the Patriots couldn’t get the last three yards on the next two plays and Zach Potter tied the game with a field goal of his own. Brookins then bounced a run outside for a touchdown on the first play of the second overtime, and Potter’s extra point gave North a brief 10-3 lead.

“Both offenses had opportunities to make plays,” Peebles said after the game — there were several dropped passes and almost as many sacks on both sides — “but both defenses played outstanding.

“I thought [the score of the game] would be in the 20s,” the Southport coach continued, “but both of us up front were pretty stout defensively [North had 124 yards on the ground, Southport 118].”

“Offensively we’ve got to find a way to move the ball,” coach Barrett said. “The defense played their hearts out, and offensively we played hard too.”

Despite being a couple of plays away from 4-0, the Patriots are now 2-2, 0-2 in conference play, and winless at home.

“These guys had no intention of having that record at this stage of the season,” coach Barrett said of his players. “But we’ll keep working hard, and eventually good things will go our way.”

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