'Lights out' North Harrison defense keeps Charlestown in check
Upset-minded North Harrison pulled off the improbable Friday night at Charlestown.
The Cougars (8-2) limited the Pirates’ offense — a unit averaging 47.2 points and 489.9 yards per game entering Friday — to a season-low 14 points and 214 yards, and did just enough on offense themselves to escape with a three-point win, clinching a berth in next week’s Sectional 31 semifinals.
North Harrison’s offense kept Charlestown (8-2) off the field behind 59 rushing attempts and 63 plays overall, and the defensive unit forced five turnovers – two on downs, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
“No doubt, it’s an upset,” North Harrison coach Mark Williamson said. “We put some things in. We’ve been putting some things in for a couple weeks to get our kids to believe. It wasn’t the things we put in, it was just the mind-set of our kids.
“Our defense has been playing lights out, and we knew we would play them a lot better defensively. It was just whether or not we could move the ball. And we moved the ball just enough to win.”
GALLERY: North Harrison upsets Charlestown
SCORES: Statewide high school football results
Sophomore running back Jaylen Peake carried the ball a whopping 43 times for North Harrison, totaling 143 yards and the eventual game-winning touchdown.
After the Cougars were stuffed inside the Pirates’ one-yard line with 9:43 left in the fourth quarter trailing 14-10, North Harrison’s defense forced a three-and-out. After another empty possession for the Cougars, the defense took a stand once again, aided by back-to-back false starts on the Charlestown offense.
The ensuing punt was blocked by North Harrison, giving the Cougars the ball at the Pirates’ 27-yard line with 4:31 left. It took Peake and the offense nine plays to find the end zone, on fourth-and-one, with only a minute to spare for the Pirates.
North Harrison will host Class 3A No. 6 Southridge (9-1) next week.
“It was a big stop to get the ball back, and then a punt block,” Williamson said. “It was just on and on and on and on. Just an amazing game to watch, and we just kept hanging in.”
Charlestown’s loss was the final game for 15 seniors, including quarterback Brendan Lawler, running back Antonyo Gaddie and linebacker Bradley Laffoon. The Pirates’ Garrett Woods, Simon Woolridge, Amado Gomez, Isaac Lukes, Anthony Malone and Jacob VanMeter will also be missed.
The Pirates won eight games in each of the past four seasons, including 2014’s 10-4 mark and sectional title.
“They had a great career,” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins said. “They won a lot of games. They were great for the community. Great team. They were fun to coach, and we’re going to miss them.”
Seymour 24, Silver Creek 6: The Dragons (5-5) held the Owls (7-3) at bay early, but after leading 8-6 at halftime, Seymour tacked on 16 fourth-quarter points for a comfortable win – the team’s seventh straight victory.
The win avenges the Owls’ season-opening loss to Silver Creek, and 2016 marks the first winning season for the Seymour football program since 2005. The Owls will travel to Jennings County (1-9) next week for a Sectional 23 semifinal matchup.
“We lose down there by 13 (in the opener),” Seymour coach Josh Shattuck said. “Ten weeks later, we win by 18. We flipped it by 31 points. It’s not about how you do it, it’s about doing it.”
The Dragons graduate 15 seniors off this year’s team – players that had a hand in establishing “a foundation for Silver Creek football,” according to coach John Dablow.
Columbus East 35, New Palestine 7: The fifth-ranked Olympians (9-1) recorded 296 rushing yards and forced four turnovers en route to handing No. 2 New Pal its first loss of the season in Sectional 14.
Quarterback Josh Major ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Jamon Hogan added 120 yards and two scores for Columbus East behind its massive offensive line.
READ MORE: New Pal run over by Columbus East
New Pal won 50 of its past 52 games, including a Class 5A state title, prior to Friday’s loss. The Olympians advance to a semifinal meeting with Martinsville (1-8).
Brownstown 62, Brown County 0: Gavin Bane paced the Braves with touchdown runs of 56 and 13 yards and added a 73-yard scoring catch in a romp of the Eagles. The senior set Brownstown’s single-season touchdown record of 31 in the win.
“We knew going into the game they’re a team we should dominating,” Brownstown coach Reed May said. “I told the kids I wanted to make sure, at halftime, that we were way ahead, and in the second half we could play our JV and freshmen, and that’s what happened. It’s a good win for us, we got a lot of guys rested.”
The Braves will travel to Salem (6-4) next week, a team Brownstown beat 49-12 in Week 4.
West Washington 49, Oldenburg Co. 0: Running back Landon McPheeters broke the program’s career rushing record as the Senators romped the winless Twisters in Sectional 47 play.
McPheeters, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound bruiser, totaled 159 yards on just seven carries and sits at 3,919 for his career. He broke West Washington’s previous mark of 3,868 set by Dylan Conrad in 2005.
The Senators (10-0) travel to North Decatur (6-4) for a semifinal game Friday at 7 p.m.
Providence 63, Clarksville 14: Kaden Williams tallied 143 yards on just seven carries and accounted for five touchdowns for the Pioneers (6-4) in a win over the Generals (0-10).
Williams posted the game’s first four scores, as he found the end zone via an 18-yard reception, a 55-yard kick return and runs of 59 and 30 yards, respectively. Da’Shawn Baker recorded 231 yards and both Clarksville touchdowns.
The Class 2A No. 16 Pioneers will host No. 6 Evansville Mater Dei (6-4) next week in the Sectional 40 semifinals.
Salem 49, Corydon 20: Quarterback Seth Hobson passed for 273 yards and five touchdowns to go along with a score on the ground to pace the Lions to a win over the Panthers (3-7).
An Austin Kopp rushing touchdown tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter before four straight scores through the air gave the Lions a 34-7 lead with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Hobson set Salem’s career passing mark in the win. Kopp finished with 136 yards and two touchdowns in his final game.
Salem advances to host defending Sectional 31 champion Brownstown on Friday.
Jennings County 17, Madison 7: The Panthers picked up their first win of the year behind 14 unanswered points. Madison finished the season 2-8.
Andrew Frazier’s 16-yard touchdown strike to Nathan Moore gave the Cubs a 7-3 lead in the second quarter, but Brock Ernstes responded for Jennings County, tossing a touchdown before halftime and another in the second half.
The Panthers host streaking Seymour in the Sectional 23 semifinals.
Eastern 49, Crawford County 18: Running back Blake Feller tallied four rushing touchdowns to pace the Musketeers (3-7) to a rout of the winless Wolfpack.
Receiver Parker Wallingford broke Eastern’s single-season receiving mark in the contest, as he hauled in two touchdowns through the air.
The Musketeers are set to host South Spencer (4-6) next week in the sectional semifinals.
Landon McPheeters, West Washington: A 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior, McPheeters totaled 159 yards on just seven carries in a win Friday and broke the Senators’ career record for rushing yards.
Seth Hobson, Salem: The senior broke the Lions’ career passing record as he completed 11 of 16 attempts for 273 yards and five touchdowns in a win. He added a rushing score.