In a mistake- and penalty-filled North-South game, host Terre Haute South stopped making the mistakes earlier Friday night, the result being a 34-13 victory over Terre Haute North in Conference Indiana high school football.
The Bell was ringing by halftime, when the Braves had a 24-0 lead. The Patriots made something of a comeback to get within 27-13 with 8:56 left only to have the Braves answer with a long drive of their own.
"This is the team we expected at the beginning of the year," coach Tim Herrin of the Braves said after the game. "Our offensive line is really coming around, and I can't say enough about [quarterback] Caleb Stultz and our receivers and our running backs."
The 13 points was easily the fewest South has allowed this season too.
"[Our defense] has been challenged all year," Herrin added. "We played great teams [losses to West Lafayette Harrison, Noblesville and Bloomington North], and that pays off when you get in conference [games]."
Coach Chris Barrett of the Patriots, back on the sidelines after a two-week quarantine, was more blunt.
"We got our butts kicked from start to finish," he said. "We didn't execute any facet of the game."
Each team had a possession in the first two minutes, North fumbling the ball away and South going three-and-out.
The Patriots then picked up two first downs, but hurt themselves with two huge penalties, and South put together a 65-yard scoring drive almost in spite of itself.
The Braves had a 38-yard pass play negated by a penalty of their own, but North roughed the punter. From there the Braves went down the field, and Josh Cottee got to the edge for a 35-yard touchdown run with 2:37 left in the first quarter.
A second North fumble — at the Patriots' 19-yard line — set up the Braves again, although they only managed a field goal.
But South marched 73 yards in eight plays on its next possession, Cottee scoring again, and in the final seconds of the first half James Mallory found himself open by 15 yards — the Patriots were selling out rushing the passer by this point — and it was 24-0 at intermission.
South got the second-half kickoff and kept the ball for five minutes, but only got a field goal out of it.
North then got a 73-yard kickoff return by Damon Sturm followed immediately by a 17-yard touchdown run by Jace Russell, and it was 27-6 with a flicker of hope on the visitors' side.
The Patriots ran a fake punt on fourth down on their next possession, but a dropped pass gave the ball back to South. North then got an interception by Jayson Cottrell, but to no avail.
Finally, early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots drove 71 yards in 11 plays, Russell scoring again. But South countered with a 60-yard drive.
North was penalized for 129 yards and the Braves came close with 99. North's most positive statistic was its kickoff returns — six for 214 yards.
"We saw what we knew we were going to see [from the Braves], but we got flustered," Barrett said. "You've got to be able to handle your frustrations."
"It feels great," said Mallory, who had seven catches for 113 yards. "It was a great team win. We played just how I knew we could play."
"It feels awesome," added linebacker Ayden Macke, who had three big plays early to set the tone for his team's best defensive outing of the season. "We worked hard all week in practice, and we executed when we came into the game."
"For the talent we have, for four straight quarters we were about as bad as I've seen a team play."
Terre Haute North=0=0=6=7=—=13
Terre Haute South=10=14=3=7=—=34
THS — Josh Cottee 35 run (Ashton Hayne kick), 2:37 1st
THS — Hayne 30 FG, 0:31.6 1st
THS — Cottee 3 run (Hayne kick), 5:42 2nd
THS — James Mallory 30 pass from Caleb Stultz (Hayne kick), 0:14.3 2nd
THS — Hayne 31 FG, 7:01 3rd
THN — Jace Russell 17 run (run failed), 6:43 3rd
THN — Russell 3 run (Jack Butwin kick), 8:56 4th
THS — Jacob Rutledge 1 run (Hayne kick), 2:46 4th
Rushing — THN: Russell 15-42, Jesiah Richardson 8-31, Conner Lutz 1-24, Donavin Cherry 6-24, Damon Sturm 1-8. THS: Cottee 16-68, Rutledge 14-64, Tyler Vaughn 1-1, Braden Bender 2-1, Team 3-minus 4.
Passing — THN: Russell 8-21-0, 90 yards. THS: Stultz 17-27-1, 214.
Receiving — THN: Jaden Wayt 2-29, Cherry 2-4, Sturm 1-30, Eli Moody 1-15, Deven Stillwell 1-7, Richardson 1-5. THS: Mallory 7-113, Andrece Miller 5-53, Vaughn 4-46, Bender 1-2.
Next — Terre Haute South (1-3, 1-1 Conference Indiana) plays at Bloomington South and Terre Haute North (2-2, 0-2) hosts Bloomington North next Friday.