North Opens at Madison
J. C. Tilton
North used a balanced attack against the Madison Mohawks last Friday night. The team had to play on the road, but took away home field advantage on their opening drive. They mixed in the run and pass to keep the Mohawks off balance. Dunham ran for a first down, then connected with James Anderson for a 38 yard pass and another first down. Zumstein ran for another first down. Then another pass to Anderson put the Panthers at the Mohawk 22 yard line. Here the drive fizzled, but the Panthers came away with points thanks to a Sean Lefeld field goal. With about 7 minutes left in the 1st quarter, North was up 3-0.
Now it was up to Madison to respond. But the team must have had opening night jitters. There was an illegal block on the first play from scrimmage. Then a bad pitch moved the ball backwards. Finally they punted the ball away. North seemed to catch whatever Madison had, as they likewise muffed their next drive. A motion penalty cost 5 yards. And a bad pitch that was recovered by North put them deeper in the hole. It was 4th and about 25 yards when North punted.
A composed Mohawk offense took the field this time. They methodically went to work with their triple option offense, with an occasional counter thrown in. Early in the second quarter they had driven to about the North 17. They drove deeper, but with their backs to the wall, the North defense played tough in the red zone. Finally forcing the Mohawks to give up the ball on a 4th and one play.
North now started their possession on their own 7 yard line. But they were unable to do anything on offense and had to punt - giving the Mohawks a short field on their next possession. North did not help their cause when a defensive breakdown allowed the Mohawks a 30 yard run that put them inside the 10 of the Panthers. Again the Panther defense stiffened, finally forcing a 4th down play on the 3 yard line. But the defense could not dodge a bullet this time and gave up the touchdown. Madison was unable to convert their extra point and it was 6-3 Madison.
North had a decent return on the kickoff that spotted the ball at midfield. But Dunham coughed up the ball on a keeper at the Mohawk 37 yard line. Madison had problems moving the ball against a determined defense and finally resorted to the pass. It was intercepted by North and returned to - the Mohawk 37 yard line. The Panthers picked up where they left off. Finally driving the ball into the endzone in the closing minute of the half to go back up on top 10-6.
In the second half, both teams scored twice more, North converted their extra points but Madison could not and when the dust finally settled it was North that held off Madison to win 24-18. Next week North will face another test as they go toe to toe with an improved Covington team. The Bucc's only lost a handful of players to graduation, and return most of their starters. Next weeks winner will have a legitimate shot at the CCC championship, while the loser will need some help to finish on top.