News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

September 28, 2013

Despite South loss, coach Herrin proud of his team

TERRE HAUTE — Apparently the first half of Conference Indiana high school football Friday at Terre Haute South had all the action anyone could ask for — and it very nearly did — because not much went on offensively in the final two quarters.

Thus two second-quarter Bloomington South touchdown drives that took up just three plays and less than a minute on the clock proved to be the difference, the visiting Panthers hanging onto their 28-21 halftime lead the rest of the way.

Coach Tim Herrin of the Braves enjoyed his team’s second-half defensive effort.

“I’m proud of our team,” he said after the game. “We threw a shutout [in the second half] and we moved the ball. We got a few penalties and a turnover, but we competed very hard.”

South had some offensive threats in the second half despite the fact that quarterback Timmy Herrin left the game with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter with a knee injury. He’ll undergo magnetic resonance imaging tests today, his father said after the game.

The one turnover was huge, a botched handoff inside the 5-yard line in the waning seconds of the third quarter. The Braves had gone over 80 yards — 63 of it on a play-action pass from Taxi Brown to Johnathon Rogers — and never reached Panther territory again. The Braves had been in Panther territory earlier that quarter after a Jacob Johnson punt return.

The first two quarters were quite different, occasionally having the look of an Oregon scrimmage. By halftime the teams had combined for 573 yards, 29 first downs — 18 in the first quarter alone — and the game’s seven touchdowns, not to mention a fight, two ejections and the Herrin injury.

The Braves struck first, racing 70 yards in five plays after the opening kickoff. Timmy Herrin’s third completion of the drive went to Justin Jenkins for 26 yards and a score just 1:42 into the game.

Right back down the field in hurry-up, no-huddle fashion came the Panthers, needing just 2:24 for 10 plays. Quarterback Bryce Stancombe went the final yard to tie the score 7-7.

Terre Haute South drove from its 5-yard line deep into Panther territory late in the first quarter only to fumble the ball away. Bloomington South needed just six plays to go 76 yards to take the lead on a touchdown pass from Stancombe to Keenan Franz, the son of former Indiana basketball player Chuck Franz.

A 52-yard kickoff return by Jacob Johnson sparked the next Braves drive, which needed to go only 40 yards. Ian Newton and Michael Watt both got big yardage on the ground and Logan Deady scored the touchdown, although the extra-point try was foiled by a high snap from center.

On the Panthers’ very next play, Stancombe threw a long sideline pass to Franz, who came down with a deflection after a jump-ball play with a South defender, and Franz had clear sailing for a 77-yard touchdown play.

Midway through the second quarter Terre Haute South had good field position again, taking over when a fourth-down pass was deflected and caught by 298-pound guard Elijah Drew for a 2-yard loss, followed by a Panther penalty. It took the Braves nine plays to go 48 yards for the score, Johnson making a spectacular fourth-down catch in the far corner of the end zone, and Timmy Herrin ran for the tying 2-point conversion.

Two plays later, the Panthers were ahead to stay. Richard Williams ran 51 yards for a first down, then 16 yards for a touchdown — after replacing the Panthers’ starting running back who had left the game with an injury. In an indication that it might not have been the Braves’ night, Bloomington’s two backup runners combined for 249 yards on 24 carries.

South had a big opportunity in the final minute of the half, after a pass rush by Dickie Rollins on an attempted screen pass led to an interception by Junior Berry at the Panther 36.

Timmy Herrin completed a 23-yard pass to Jenkins for a first down, then was rushed into an incompletion on the next play — which led to a melee. Herrin was hit late, a fight broke out, and after several minutes a player was ejected from each team and South had a first down inside the 15-yard line because of a roughing-the-passer penalty.

Timmy Herrin was injured two plays later, however — and South was called for offensive holding on the play — so despite an 11-yard scramble by Brown, the Braves couldn’t get in the end zone or close enough for a successful field goal.

“We knew it was going to be a very close game,” coach Herrin said afterward. “We had some opportunities in the first half that we let slip away.”

About the only statistic that kept pace in the last two quarters was penalty yardage, the two teams combining for 217 yards in infractions. South’s defense — coach Herrin credited linebacker Aaron Wells with some outstanding play, and Logan Church had an interception — withstood a big run by Eli Eads to post its shutout, although the Panthers reached the 2-yard line before taking a knee at the end of the game.

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