Game Stats Game Recap Game Possession Chart
|WHITLER||31||23||74%||237||1||0||10 yd TD (Clements)|
|WHITLER||3||-9||-3.0||1||1||0||1 yd TD; Sacked once for -9 yds|
|CLEMENTS||2||2||32||16.0||1||22||10 yd TD (Whitler)|
|* thrown to|
|GOTT||KO||3||55||18.3||0||43||Fumble (NHS recover)|
|Player||Total||TD rush||TD rec||TD ret||2pt XP||XP kick||FG|
|Oct 24 NORTH vs Castle Sectional Team Stats|
|4.8||Avg yds per rush||4.3|
|10.3||Avg yds per completion||20.1|
|1 / -9||Sacked / Yards Lost||2 / -16|
|6.1||Avg yds per play||8.6|
|1||Passes HAD intercepted||0|
|0||Points scored off turnovers||0|
|4 / 47||PENALTIES / YARDS||5 / 45|
|3 / 9||3rd down conversions||3 / 7|
|1 / 5||4th down conversions||2 / 2|
|NORTH VS CASTLE - SECTIONAL GAME 10/24/2008 - DEFENSIVE STATS|
|PLAYER||SOLO||ASST.||T-FL||SACK||C FUM||R FUM||INT.||B. KICK||POINTS|
That was the magic number for North on Friday night’s sectional game with Castle.
There were five drives inside of Castle’s twenty yard line.
Unfortunately, three of those drives came up empty and that told the story of the football game.
Ultimately this Husky football team will be remembered as a team that could manufacture drives against any opponent, but couldn’t put the ball in the end zone when it mattered most.
Not blessed with overwhelming team speed, this was a ball club that had to manufacture big plays. Certain formations had to be used with short gainers to lull the defense into sets that allowed for later big strikes against them. Play-action run fakes were often required to divert the defense’ attention from the object of the quarterback’s interest. Run plays relied upon diversions, traps, and draws.
When a team relies upon diversionary tactics to defeat a capable opponent, it makes it doubly tough when you have to play that same opponent twice in one season. Such was the case in Friday night’s Sectional opener (and ‘closer’ as it turned out).
Castle took the opening kickoff and worked some magic with some misdirection tactics of their own. Two quick hits into the line generated 20 yards of gains. A long fly pattern pass moved the ball another 30 yards to the North 28. On 1st & 10, the Knights ran a play known in North circles as “the Notre Dame screen”.
Designed to take advantage of a blitzing linebacker situation, the wide receiver takes a quick screen pass in the right hand flat and runs for the empty part of the field left by the blitzing linebacker. The play works especially well when the opponent not only blitzes but the defenders miss a tackle or two. In that case, the result is normally a touchdown. This play was “normal” in that respect and Castle went up 7-0.
Early Turnover Hurts
North started its first possession from its usual starting position—somewhere inside the 25 yard line—and quickly made short order of the Knight run defense. Option pitches to the left and then the right garnered a first down out near the 35. On 3rd and one from the North 42, RB Travis Carlile carried a pitch around left end and found daylight. Breaking free he rambled ten yards, ran over a defender, broke a tackle, and continued on for another 18 yards.
Unfortunately, a Castle defender pried the ball free as he went down and the ball squirted up in the air ahead of Carlile. When the officials separated the resulting scrum, the Knights had the ball and North’s first drive deep into Castle country netted zero points.
Carlile quickly went to work to make up for the turnover by dropping the Castle quarterback for an 8 yard sack on first down and the Huskies got the ball back after a three and out by the Knights.
North’s next possession found them in good field position for a change. Following a short punt by Castle, the Huskies started from their 42 and with little effort could have found themselves in position to challenge for the lead. In what would be a theme for the evening, a ‘death’ penalty occurred.
The Huskies would not generate a large quantity of penalties on the evening, but when they did, the penalties would prove to be big ones and either kill our drive or sustain a Castle drive. On third down, North was called for offensive holding and it nullified what would have been a first down. Instead, North faced 3rd and 24 and found themselves punting the ball away.
The Penalties Continue
Castle sustained a dead drive with another ‘death’ penalty on the very next possession. They took the ensuing punt and quickly moved out to midfield only to have Carlile throw their running back for a loss on second down at the North 45. This set up a third and long situation. The Knights looped a receiver across midfield on third down and a low throw resulted in an incomplete pass.
Unfortunately, a North linebacker either did not hear the whistle or didn’t realize that a player on the ground was downed regardless of whether or not he caught the ball. The Huskies were flagged for a late hit on what would have been a punting situation and Castle was awarded first down at the North 25. Two plays later, with North in a blitz package, the Knights recognized the call and ran the “Notre Dame Screen” a second time. The result was no different than the first time and the score became Castle 14 North 0.
The rain had begun to fall as the Knights kicked off to the Huskies. Nowhere was the effect of the rain more apparent than the Husky kickoff return. The kick returner caught the ball at the 12 yard line, fumbled it, and WR Mitch Parker recovered it, ran, lost his footing, and was marked down at the 15 yard line.
Having seen two scores put up against them in seven minutes of play, the rain beginning to thicken, and facing 85 yards to pay dirt, North could have ‘mailed’ one in on this drive.
This time they used a combination of misdirection, draws, screens, and a measure of good luck to finally get on the scoreboard. QB Cameron Whitler connected on a hook pattern with Parker for 11 yards to get things started. Good fortune came into play on the next pass when a Whitler to Parker pass over the middle got tipped up into the air and WR Drew Hawkins made an exceptional leap (with a mid-air change of direction) to come down with the ball at the North 35.
A screen pass to Parker on the right picked up another 13 and a first down. Switching to a shot gun formation on second down, Whitler found Parker on a fly route down the right hand side and the big wide receiver tight-roped his way for a 33 yard gain.
Carlile tucked in a draw and ran ten yards to put the ball inside the Castle ten yard line. When the Knights stuffed a dive for a three yard loss, Coach Wilson went to the well for a play that has worked every time it has been run this season—a play-action rollout pass to the fullback in which the quarterback throws back across his body to the opposite side of the field.
What was different about this one was the formation. Lining up I – Right, the ‘look’ was different from normal and the formation fooled the defense. Whitler ran the play action fake to Carlile perfectly, pivoted in the wet soil, and got a strong throw across the field to FB Cameron Clements who ran ‘downhill’ to the goal line. As the defenders contended with wet turf to change their momentum, Clements bowled over two Knights and dove into the end zone for North’s first score.
The wet turf, however, appeared to take its toll on the North kicking game, and a low kick was blocked by the Castle defense. As the gun sounded on the first quarter, North was on the board but down 14-6.
As the rain poured, the North defense stiffened and forced a three and out. DT Marcus Garret stuffed a second down run and Parker, now on defense, broke up a third down pass play that would have netted a first down. The Huskies took over near their 40 when another short punt rolled out of bounds.
Drive To Nowhere
Not choosing to risk precision passes in what became the thickest rain of the evening, the Husky offensive line had its best showing of the night. Relentlessly pushing back the Knights, North ran the ball on 11 of their next 12 plays and drove the ball to the Castle two yard line. The lone pass on the drive was a flair pass from Whitler to Carlile on 4th and five at the Castle 28 and picked up the first down with a couple yards to spare.
With first and goal, a combination of shotgun draws and traps failed to produce a touchdown. The Castle defense wasn’t biting on misdirection any longer and North was forced to attempt a field goal on 4th and goal from the four. The rain let up just as the kicking team came on the field and it appeared that the heavens were smiling upon the Huskies fortunes until the kick went wide left.
Castle Owns The Air
With a three year starter at quarterback, the Knights called upon his experience to guide them down the field. They ran the Notre Dame screen for nine yards on first down and then completed three of their next four passes as the easily manipulated the deep middle of the North defense. Three completions into the middle of the field resulted in their third passing touchdown of the half and they went into intermission with a 21-6 lead.
The half time stats told a different story than the scoreboard. North had gained 100 yards on the ground and held Castle to just 40. North had 192 yards total offense and Castle had just over 200. North had routinely moved the ball into Castle territory but generated only six points for their effort. Castle had scored all three times they were inside the North 30.
Here Come The Huskies!
North took the opening kickoff and returned it to their customary 24 yard line starting position. The rain had stopped and on second down the Huskies ran the ‘old faithful’ pass to Clements for a 22 yard pickup. Whitler found Parker for an additional 22 yards two plays later and North was now 1st and 10 from the Castle 20 yard line.
WR Drew Hawkins made a fabulous catch near the goal line on a corner route and two plays later QB Cameron Whitler scored his first touchdown of the season on a sneak play to cut the deficit to 21-12. The wet footing again played havoc with the extra point and the attempt went wide left.
Nonetheless, at this point North had run three of their last four drives for eight plays or longer and moved Castle all over the field. Momentum was with the Green and White and it was evident when the ensuing possession by the Knights found them facing 4th and 9 from their 21 yard line. North was ‘in the drivers seat’ to take control of the game.
And then disaster struck.
As has been the case for North this season—one play can change a game around. In years past, with the team speed that the Huskies possessed North was more often than not the beneficiary of the “game changing” play. Tonight was not one of those nights.
Tonight the magic belonged to the Knights.
Following a time out, Castle called a fake punt from their 21 yard line—a play that smelled of ‘desperation’ and had no reasonable basis for its calling. By all logic, on fourth and nine their prospects of success were minimal at best—unless they had noticed something in the North punt coverage during the previous game that led them to believe the middle would be soft.
It was, the fake worked, and despite a block-in-the-back penalty, Castle had first down at their 35.
They again ran the Notre Dame screen for a first down, tossed a deep pass over the middle for a 20 yard pick up, and even overcame a 1st down sack by DT Marcus Garrett on their way to a score. Along the way they were aided by a “late hit” call to gain a first and goal at the 2. Two plays later the Knights led 28-12.
Another Drive To Nowhere
The Husky offense responded to a Castle squib kick that gave them starting field position at the 40 yard line by punching the ball into Knight territory quickly. WR Caleb Kinnaird caught a ball over the middle to set up 1st and 10 at the Castle 35. Carlile took a flair pass ten yards to the 25. WR James Gott picked up seven on a slant and Carlile hammered away to the Castle 14 on a run.
The Huskies were only down two touchdowns, had the ball inside the Knight red zone, and the fourth quarter hadn’t even begun yet. The game was still up for grabs.
On first down Whitler suffered his only sack of the evening. On second down Parker leapt high into the air for an apparent touchdown reception only to have the ball bounce away as he landed roughly in the end zone. Facing 3rd and 19 from the 23, Hawkins got more than half the necessary yardage with a catch at the 13.
What was left of a thin Husky crowd was standing and cheering in the cold, wet, wind blown stadium as North faced 4th and nine from the 13 yard line. Everyone sat down quietly after the pass to Parker fell incomplete.
Husky defenders were demoralized and it showed when a short pass became a 72 yard catch-and-run on the next Knight possession. North again drove into Castle territory early in the fourth quarter but came away with nothing to show for the effort. Castle, aided by a 15 yard ‘death’ penalty on the North bench to convert a 4th and 14, went on to score again and make the final tally 41-12. North again drove inside the Castle 20 with two minutes to play but turned the ball over on an interception.
The Final Word
North’s first competition with Castle was marked by nine missed opportunities to turn the game around. The Sectional final was more of the same. In a weak Sectional, North had melded their forces into an offensive machine that could gain yards against any team they played and, as a result, had as good a shot at the Championship as any team.
What they hadn’t done was develop that “killer instinct”—that emotion that just “makes” big plays happen when they needed them most. Gaining yards and scoring points don’t always go hand-in-hand and this was a team that proved the rule.
With a young defensive front seven, this was a team that needed to relieve pressure whenever possible. Instead, this was a team that relied too heavily on an overmatched defensive squad to hold-the-line whenever possible. That is the sort of thing that turns a potential 8-3 sectional "contender" into a 3-7 "also ran" ball club.
|POSSESSION CHART NORTH vs Castle Sectional Oct 24 '08|
|C20||5||3||2||80||2||1:30||TD||#10 28 yd TD reception||0 - 7|
|N22||5||5||0||64||1||2:30||Fumble||Carlile fumbles after 28 yd gain||0 - 7|
|C30||4||1||2||4||0||1:20||Punt||Carlile 1st down SACK||0 - 7|
|N42||5||1||2||-14||0||1:15||Punt||NHS Holding on 3rd down||0 - 7|
|C36||7||3||4||64||2||2:20||TD||#10 25 yd TD reception||0 - 14|
|NORTH||Rain set in for the remainder of the half|
|N15||8||3||5||85||4||3:00||TD||Clements 10 yd TD reception||6 - 14|
|C22||4||2||1||5||0||1:30||Punt||Parker breaks up 3rd down pass||6 - 14|
|N39||14||11||1||57||4||6:30||Miss FG||Shanked kick from 12 yd line||6 - 14|
|C20||7||2||5||80||3||2:25||TD||#22 22 yd TD reception||6 - 21|
|N48||4||0||4||9||0||1:00||downs||Fail on 4th & inches at C43||6 - 21|
|C41||1||1||0||0||0||0:20||Half||6 - 21|
|N24||8||5||3||76||3||4:00||TD||Whitler 1 yd TD sneak||12 - 21|
|XP kick misses|
|C20||13||6||6||80||5||4:50||TD||#22 1 yd TD run; convert fake punt on 4th & 9 at C 21 yd line||12 - 28|
|N40||11||2||8||47||4||3:20||downs||Pass fails on 4th & 9 at C 13 yd||12 - 28|
|C13||5||4||1||87||1||2:30||TD||#4 72 yd TD reception||12 - 34|
|XP kick no good|
|N10||10||1||8||42||2||3:45||downs||Fail to convert 4th & 4 at C48||12 - 34|
|C49||9||7||1||51||2||3:40||TD||#5 1 yd TD run||12 - 41|
|N35||4||3||1||46||2||1:20||INT||12 - 41|
|N32||1||1||0||0||0||0:45||game||12 - 41|
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