1999 NHS Season Statistics--SECTIONAL CHAMPS
Evansville Courier Newspaper ALL CITY/METRO Selections
|Aug. 20||Evansville Bosse||Win 47-28|
|Aug. 27||Henderson County (Ky.)||Win 63-20|
|Sep. 4||Evansville Harrison||Loss 6-9|
|Sep. 10||Evansville Mater Dei||Loss 16-48|
|Sep. 17||Castle||Loss 21-28|
|Sep. 24||Evansville Memorial||Win 46-6|
|Oct. 1||Evansville Reitz||Win 24-14|
|Oct. 8||Louisville Fern Creek (Ky.)||Loss 22-31|
|Oct. 15||Evansville Central||Loss 28-39|
|Oct. 22||Boonville||Win 39-19|
|Oct. 29||Owen Valley||Win 18-12|
|Nov. 5||Vincennes Lincoln||Win 32-25|
|Nov. 12||Indpls. Cathedral||Loss 20-37|
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Everyone assumed that the ’99 Huskies would be a “Running Team”. The backfield was shaping up to be deep and fast. What was missing was an experienced quarterback to run the offense. There was a quality receiving corps to throw to, but, at first glance, there did not appear to be anyone to get them the ball.
Week One answered all the questions.
Taking the snaps behind center against Bosse was QB Kelmane Dixon. Dixon had only thrown five passes the previous season before torching the Bulldogs for 201 yards in his debut as the starting quarterback. With Bosse bottling up the running game (RB Derenzo Bushrod was held to 56 yards—his lowest output of the season), Dixon opened things up and found WR John Grimmer for a pair of long touchdowns (57 and 36 yards respectively). The Huskies won going away 47-28 and Coach Mike Wilson recorded his 100th victory as a head football coach (combining his total at Olney’s East Richland High School and North.)
At Henderson County’s annual “Hall Of Fame Game” in week two, North’s rushing game was unstoppable as the Huskies averaged over 15 yards per carry on 29 attempts. RB Derenzo Bushrod was named the game’s MVP when he ran for 182 yards and 3 TD’s on just nine carries. The three touchdown runs were lengths of 62, 68, and 32 yards. But Bushrod wasn’t alone, with a line that featured big (6’2” 280lb) OT Jared Porter opening holes, RB Antonieo Madison carried four times for 96 yards including touchdown runs of 44 and 56 yards.
The evening’s most impressive average, however, belonged to RB James Bell who carried the ball three times—for three touchdowns. His first one came from ten yards out, but his final pair were runs of 51 and 63 yards. In total, North scored what was at the time a team record of 63 points in the victory. The Huskies put up the single most impressive rushing display since the 1960 team ravaged Evansville Lincoln for 553 yards on 50 carries.
Of course, North could have used some of that production the following week against Harrison. On a sweltering hot night, neither team could get much offense going. The lone Warrior touchdown was attributable to the heat. With the Huskies holding the ball on their own two yard line, a fumbled exchange between the center and quarterback turned the ball over to Harrison at first and goal. North’s only touchdown occurred on a long pass from QB Kelmane Dixon to John Grimmer (41 yards) and Harrison clinched the 9-6 victory with a late field goal.
North’s next chance at victory came against Castle. With RB Derenzo Bushrod having the first of what would be a string of nine consecutive games with 100 or more yards rushing, the Huskies battled the Knights to a 21-21 tie at the end of regulation. North’s chances appeared bright when they sacked Castle’s quarterback for a 16 yard loss on third down. The Knights however completed a 26 yard TD pass on 4th down and the Huskies’ O.T. opportunity ended with a fumble.
The losing streak came to an end against Memorial in week six. The stable of running backs that had been on such prominent display in Henderson reemerged against the Tigers. RB’s Bushrod, Madison, and Bell all topped 100 yards again and each ran of them ran for scores as North sailed to a 46-6 victory. WR John Grimmer caught his fifth touchdown pass in six games and North scored on each of their first four possessions.
With North touting a 3-3 record, it didn’t appear that they would have much chance against an undefeated and state ranked Reitz team at Central Stadium. Some familiar names would do a lot to change folks’ opinions of the Huskies that night and some less familiar names would get their chance to shine in the spotlight as well.
With the ball game unfolding as a more even contest than expected, lightning struck in one 27 second stretch of the third quarter. After those 27 seconds, Reitz would not be the same. RB Antonieo Madison took an option pitch, juke-stepped the cornerback, and jetted 80 yards down the left hand side of the field for a touch town. Following the kickoff, freshman Michael Elliott stripped a Panther running back of the ball and LB LeMarceo Shamell recovered the fumble on the Reitz 30 yard line. On the game’s next play, RB Derenzo Bushrod scampered around right end and dashed 30 yards to paydirt. When the game ended, North had beaten Reitz for the fifth time in eight seasons.
Turnovers told the story against Fern Creek (Louisville, KY) as the Huskies averaged over 13 yards per carry and completed 8 passes for 80 yards and still lost by nine. Interceptions and fumbles gave the Tigers easy scores and a 31-22 victory.
Fumbles plagued the Huskies for the first half of their annual rivalry with the Central Bears. As a result, they found themselves trailing 14-33 in the third quarter. QB Kelmane Dixon’s pin point passing began to bring the Huskies back (he threw for 177 yards in the game) and following a 38 yard TD pass to WR John Grimmer, the gap narrowed. When RB Bushrod’s second touchdown cut the margin to 33-28 late in the game, the comeback looked possible. North had given away too many opportunities, however, and could never quite close the gap.
Entering the 4A Sectional opening round game versus Boonville, North was battling a number of issues. Continuing struggles with miscues had cost them two straight games that they could have won. Internal issues had resulted in suspensions to key players for the opener. Then the news hit during practice that Coach Wilson’s father had passed away unexpectedly.
Some teams and staffs would fold under similar pressure, but not the Huskies. They executed against the Pioneers to perfection by running for six touchdowns in a blow out 39-19 win.
The second round game came against the Owen Valley Patriots. The Spencer, Indiana team featured the state’s leading rusher at tailback and they entered with a long win streak in tact. The Husky defense rose to the occasion and limited the highly rated running back to just 81 yards. North’s line, however, made plenty of room for RB Derenzo Bushrod to run and he had a field day. The speedster ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns on just 21 carries. With Owen Valley showing signs of life in the second half, DE Jacob Metz stopped two Patriot drives with third down sacks of the quarterback. With an 18-12 victory, the Huskies were back in the Sectional Title game for the second consecutive year and the fifth time in eight seasons.
Vincennes Lincoln was no stranger to the North Huskies. During Coach Wilson’s tenure, the two teams had met in the playoffs in the ’89, ’93, and ’94. All three of the games had been bitter, hard fought struggles decided by seven or fewer points. 1999 was going to prove no different than the first three bouts.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns with QB Kelmane Dixon hitting Brandon Ragland with a 51 yard pass for North. Derenzo Bushrod, on his way to his eight consecutive game with 100 or more yards rushing, had run one score in and North had converted two 2 point conversions. The game was knotted when LB-RB Randy Schrerer recovered a fumble on the North 46 yard line. Two plays later, Schrerer ran 54 yards for a score.
Vincennes came back to take the lead again 25-24 in the fourth quarter. With 6:47 to go in the game, the Huskies defense made a stand and forced the Alices to punt. Taking over on their own 30 yard line, North marched the length of the field in a little under two minutes of playing time. Bushrod plunged in from the one yard line and scored the winning touchdown in what would be the Huskies’ fourth Sectional Title of the 90’s.
The Regional battle was against the defending Indiana 4A state champions, Indianapolis Cathedral’s Fighting Irish. North at 7-5 was once again a heavy underdog and this time it showed. Playing tight with the Irish well into the third quarter, QB Kelmane Dixon threw his second touchdown pass of the game (the first went to E Mike Miller, the second was a 15 yarder to RB Antonieo Madison). The pass narrowed the score to 12-16. After that, however, it was all Cathedral and North finished at 7-6.
In the ‘80’s, North had only seen a total of 15 football wins and there was never a season with a winning record. The 90’s saw the Huskies ascendancy to the top of the Evansville summit in football. With 52 wins in the decade, North counted four Sectional titles, an S.I.A.C. Championship, a City Title, and Regional and Semi-State victories. The 21st century would dawn with a much brighter future for the Huskies than they had experienced in nearly 30 years.
DEFENSE-- 2 pts each for solo, cause or recover fumble, sack, int, blk kick; 1 pt each for assist and tackle for loss
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