Sports

September 2, 2013

Friday Night Rewind: Off and running

Northwest defense responds in the second half

CLEMSON, S.C. — Opposing defenses know that the Northwest Whitfield High School offense has the potential to give them fits and putting up 38 points in the opener is proof. Bruins coach Josh Robinson agrees.

However, it was the defense that stepped up big, especially after the half.

Pepperell’s run-heavy offense chewed up a bunch of clock in the first quarter, scoring on a 15-play drive lasting 5:48 that countered Northwest’s 74-yard Caleb Shiflett to Tevin McDaniel one-two touchdown punch.

Robinson was pleased to see his defense recover after a lackluster first quarter, and hopes it is better prepared from the get-go against Pickens at home in two weeks.

“That’s not how we play,” Robinson said. “We were disappointed with how we played in the first quarter. Then we responded, stopped them and did a good job after that. I think they had a short field there on a touchdown. But I’ve got to do a better job preparing the guys because obviously we didn’t come out of the gate on defense the way we needed to.”

The Bruins’ ‘D’ held Dragons halfback Devyn Collins to seven second-half yards after gaining 142 on 18 carries in the first half. Initiating the charge was junior DE Dexter Stamper, who had a key sack with 1:36 left in the half to force a Pepperell punt.

• COAHULLA CREEK: Despite winning 35-9 versus Murray County, the Colts didn’t play perfect.

And coach Jared Hamlin knows the turnovers and penalties must be halted before Friday’s game versus Gordon Lee.

“We had way too many of both,” Hamlin said.

Coahulla Creek fumbled four times, losing one to set up a Murray County field goal to make the score 21-9, and quarterback Blaine Williams also had two interceptions. The Colts committed 13 penalties for 105 yards.

“We have to correct those things,” Hamlin said. “We have to secure the ball. And we had too many penalties. Some of them were aggressive ones, like false starts where we’re trying to get off the ball, but we also had some mental mistakes.”

• MURRAY COUNTY: Coach Chad Brewer said leading up to his team’s game against Coahulla Creek the program needed to take small steps before thinking of bigger ones like winning.

One of those included winning quarters, and Murray County can check that off the list.

Trailing 21-0, the Indians scored nine points in the third quarter and shut out the Colts. Brewer said after the game he would point directly to that accomplishment when talking to his players, but that small step is not the end game for the program.

“We won the third quarter, but you have to win four to win the game,” he said. “So we’re going back to the weight room and back to the practice field and getting these guys back to work (today).”

• NORTH MURRAY: The Mountaineers’ season didn’t get off to the fast start that last season did — winning their first three games — with their 35-12 loss to Southeast Whitfield, and it was mostly the lack of a big-play on offense that hurt coach David Gann’s team.

Breaking in a new quarterback after the loss of Brady Swilling, who is redshirting at Georgia Tech, the Mountaineers had a tough time gaining yardage or putting up points. North Murray had just 170 yards of total offense, and 80 of those yards came on a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand.

“We have to go back and fix a lot of the mistakes that we made and go back to work with practice next week,” Gann said. “Our kids kept battling and didn’t give up, but Southeast has got a great football team this year.”

It was the first five minutes of the game when the Mountaineers had their best production against the Southeast first-team defense. After Jordan Adams opened the game with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, North Murray’s offense looked as if it was rolling. Starting from their own 25, the Mountaineers gained three first downs, driving to the Southeast 39. However, a fumble ended the drive and North Murray gained just one first down until its third drive of the third quarter.

• SOUTHEAST: After losing to North Murray to start the 2012 season and after a year that showed plenty of potential for the future, the Raiders wanted to make sure they didn’t spoil the opportunities against the Mountaineers. They didn’t, controlling the game from the time the Mountaineers fumbled on their second possession of the game.

The winning start to the season was especially sweet for the seniors.

“This is our opportunity to show the county and our community that we can turn this thing around,” senior quarterback Rhett Harper said. “It is a great start for our senior season, but one game isn’t the season. We will celebrate this win, but when we go back to practice, the seniors are going to make sure that we go right back to work.”

The Raiders finished with 323 yards of total offense and had one of their most complete games in recent memory.

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