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Muddy night at Mississinnawa
J. C. Tilton

So far this season there has been mostly favorable weather for Friday nights. So we were over due for some wet, windy fall weather. It was definitely the worst night of the season so far. In the open area around the Blackhawks home field, there are no wind breaks and the breeze was blowing just enough to be a factor. Both teams like to mix in the pass, although North goes to the air more often. North lost an earlier game on a wet field to Anna, would they be able to overcome both the weather and the Blackhawks?

The Blackhawks moved the ball well in their first drive, moving the ball to the North 30 before the Panthers dug in and forced a stop. During their possession, North drove to midfield but a fumble turned the ball over. Again the North defense stood up to the challenge and forced a punt. North took over at their own 29 and the fumble bug bit again - would this be a problem the rest of the night? The Blackhawks had the ball on the 19 yard line of North and after successive carries by Kurt Moneysmith, he punched the ball into the endzone to give the Blackhawks the first lead of the night.

North was able to reach midfield on their next possession. Coach Derringer decided to gamble on 4th and 1 and it paid off as Drew Heindl gave the Panthers a first down. But the Blackhawks denied any further advance and North had to punt. The Blackhawks were unable to advance the ball during their possession and had to punt. And what a punt it was, with the wind at his back and a good roll, Brady Rogers booted it 72 yards! It reached the endzone and the Panthers got the ball on the 20.

From there Drew Heindl promptly rang up a first down on the 31. Matt Ferguson hauled in a Ty Dunham pass for another first down. To spread the load, Matt Zumstein bulled thru the line for another first. However, drive appeared to stall as they reached Blackhawk territory. But Coach Derringer decided to gamble again. Drew Heindl connected with Matt Ferguson on a halfback option pass to put the ball on the 4 yard line. After a couple of runs failed to punch thru the Blackhawk defense, Ty Dunham then found James Anderson open and threw a swing pass to him which he took into the endzone. The extra point attempt failed when the ball hit the bottom crossbar and bounced away - in a defensive ball game would this missed PAT come back to haunt the Panthers? The score now stood at 7-6 in favor of the Blackhawks.

In the remainder of the second quarter the teams exchanged possessions. The Blackhawks mounted another good drive before the close of the half. Time was running short and the Blackhawks took to the air. Shane Marker got a sack, tackling Kyle Linder for a loss. Linder's problems were not over, Panther linebacker AJ Summers snagged a pass and got some yardage on his return. This put North at midfield where time eventually ran out.

The second half continued to be a defensive struggle in the wet and windy conditions. However once again it was the pass that would be North's salvation. In the third quarter Ty Dunham connected on a long pass to Matt Ferguson for North's second touchdown of the night. Once again the PAT failed, giving North a 12-7 lead. The North defense held off Mississinnawa and it turned out that two TD's were enough as North would avenge last years loss. North's record now stands at 5-4, next week they host the Bethel Bee's. Comments:

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