North Scares Anna
J. C. Tilton
Anna has perched themselves on top of the Cross Conference and they have proven to be a tough champion to knock off. It has been about 2 years since Anna has lost to a CCC team. Earlier this season Covington played tough with them for a half, but Anna's defense held in the red zone and the Rockets turned their mistakes into points. Now it was North's turn to take a try at knocking off the champs. The weather was in their favor, a wet and muddy field negated the team speed of Anna.
North's first possession was a three and out. A shovel pass to Matt Zumstein gained yardage, but fell short of the first down. So Anna had good field possession at midfield after the punt. Anna managed a first down, but Drew Heindl made a big defensive play when he tackled an Anna runner for a 10 yard loss. Anna could not make up the yardage and had to punt a few plays later. North then put together a decent drive. Skyler Hawley caught a 15 yard pass for a first down, then Matt Zumstein pounded out another first down. Quarterback Ty Dunham ran a keeper for yardage around the end and planted the ball at the 32 yard line of Anna. From there the Rocket defense made a stand and North finally had to turn over the ball over on downs when a 4th and 9 pass fell incomplete.
Anna could not move the ball and on 4th down they lined in punt formation. They reached into their playbook and tried a fake punt. An alert AJ Summers sniffed out the play and made the tackle - giving North a very short field at the Anna 31 yard line. But North could not take advantage and finally lined up in punt formation. They also decided to run a fake punt, but had the same success as Anna - falling short of a first down.
The Rockets now used a mixture of run and pass on their next drive. They moved the ball all the way to the TCN 19. But on a 4th and 3 play Anna fell short of a first down. Again the North defense had held. Starting from their own 14, Dunham gave the Panthers some breathing room with a carry to the 29 yard line. But a penalty put North in a long yardage situation, and they finally had to punt.
The end of the half generated some excitement. With about 2 minutes left, North found themselves on their own 10 yard line after an Anna punt. Anna started to use their time outs so that they could force North to punt and get the ball with a short field. North finally punted and a good return put the ball on the North 25 yard line. With about a minute left, Anna was battling both North and the clock. North stepped up to the challenge, on back to back plays Matt Ferguson made tackles for loss - moving Anna away from the goal line. Then on 4th down, Sam Mullins swatted away a pass to deny Anna the endzone. North entered the locker room with their heads held high, they had fought the potent Rockets to a 0-0 tie.
Against a good team, you can't make mistakes. In the first half, the Panthers had played solid football. In the second half mistakes became points. A TCN fumble gave Anna good field position. The North defense could not keep Anna out of the endzone this time as the Rockets would score the first points of the night. North tried to answer, but on their next possession an interception again gave Anna the ball in Panther territory. This miscue also become a touchdown. On a night that favored the defense, this would make it tough for North to come back. Anna would score one more time in the last quarter, on a 50 yard carry. That would seal the game for Anna 21-0. This night Anna would use their strong defense to set up the offense. North gave Anna a scare, and showed that Anna can be vulnerable. Next up for Anna is Bradford, while North takes on Twin Valley South.