Game Stats Game Recap
|Sep 30 NORTH vs Vincennes Lincoln VARSITY Offensive Stats|
|ST. LOUIS||33||189||5.7||2||20||0||1-4yd TD; 2-8yd TD|
|McKINNEY||4||-3||-0.8||0||2||0||sacked once for -7yds|
|* thrown to|
|RENFRO||Punt||2||85||42.5||44||1-inside 20yd line|
|Player||Total||TD rush||TD rec||TD ret||2pt XP||XP kick||Special|
|Sept 30 NORTH vs Vincennes LINCOLN Team Stats|
|4.8||Avg yds per rush||4.7|
|13.4||Avg yds per completion||5.8|
|1 / -7||Sacked / Yards Lost||2 / -17|
|5.8||Avg yds per play||3.7|
|0||Passes HAD intercepted||1|
|0||Points scored off turnovers||0|
|6 / 55||PENALTIES / YARDS||4 / 25|
|5 / 11||3rd down conversions||3 / 12|
|2 / 4||4th down conversions||3 / 5|
|2ND||7:53||Renfro 25yd FG||3 - 0|
|7:40||McCrary 91yd TD KO Return||3 - 6|
|Lindsey XP kick||3 - 7|
|5:51||St.Louis 4yd TD run||9 - 7|
|Renfro XP kick||10 - 7|
|3RD||9:14||Hunt 1yd TD run||10 - 13|
|Lindsey XP kick||10 - 14|
|4TH||1:25||St.Louis 8yd TD run||16 - 14|
|Hess XP kick||17 - 14|
|NORTH VS VIN. LINCOLN 9/30/2022 - DEFENSIVE STATS|
|PLAYER||SOLO||ASST.||T-FL||SACK||C FUM||R FUM||INT||BK||POINTS|
HUSKIES COME FROM BEHIND IN 17-14 VICTORY
The North Huskies came from behind in the fourth quarter on the road at Vincennes Lincoln to win a 17-14 verdict against the Alices. For their part, the Alices were held mostly in check during the game with the exception of a pair of long kickoff returns that resulted in both of their scores. The Huskies experienced a ‘coming of age’ that saw them play the role of the bigger, stronger, more experienced team that ‘found a way to win’.
ST. LOUIS BATTERS THE ALICES
If there was a face to the Husky attack throughout the contest, it was senior running back Angelo St. Louis. Carrying the ball an amazing 33 times, he battered away at the Alice defense for 189 yards and both Husky touchdowns. With no gain longer than 20 yards and just three longer than 10 yards, St. Louis was called upon time and again to lower his shoulders and twist and turn for the extra bit of ground that delivered another first down. While the Huskies have had a number of great runners over the last several seasons, none matched St. Louis for his combination of speed, strength, stamina, and sheer elusiveness.
SUPPORTING CAST DELIVERS
No single player wins games. Football is a team sport in which ten ‘great’ players cannot beat eleven ‘good’ ones. All eleven players have to execute on any given play—fulfilling their obligations and roles for a play to be successful. The first play from scrimmage brought evidence of North’s overall team strength and eleven players making good on their obligations.
The offensive line featured two new additions in juniors Delshan Davis and Jayden Hazelwood to go along with holdovers Timothy Dixon, Landon Caswell, and sophomore Ben Brasher. On the snap, Dixon—in what has become a customary practice of his—relocated the defensive end to another zip code. Davis stood the tackle in front of him straight up and turned the defender to the right with comparative ease. Sophomore Avier Mitchell lined up at H-Back and drove through the gaping hole created by Dixon and Davis’ efforts and smashed into the linebacker. St. Louis took the handoff and zipped up the sideline for his longest run of the evening. It was just the first of many examples wherein a cast of underclassmen created opportunities for the senior to deliver.
UNDERCLASSMEN EMERGE ON DEFENSE, TOO
While the first one-and-a-half quarters of the game were scoreless, it served as a period of time in which a number of Huskies “Came of Age”. On defense, sophomore middle linebacker Luke Grayson and juniors Cainen Northington and Keonta Barton proved that they can be counted on to provide the type of defense that teams win with.
Coming into the game, Vincennes Lincoln’s quarterback was regarded as one of the finest passers in the SIAC Conference. At the end of the night, he would complete just 10 of his 26 passes (38%) for a paltry 58 yards. The lack of production in large part was due to the tremendous coverage that Barton and Northington provided. Specifically, the pair accounted for four passes deflected out of the air before receivers could catch them and Barton nabbed his third interception of the year.
Grayson enjoyed his finest game to date at middle linebacker. Tasked with coordinating the defense, he has shown throughout the season an ability to keep the linemen in front of him in the appropriate positions for them to be dominant. His tackle counts have been consistent but this game would see him take his performance to new levels. He garnered an amazing 13 tackles in the contest, seven of those of the solo variety, and a tackle for loss.
A COUPLE OF SENIORS ‘REPRESENT’
Every team needs senior leadership to set the tone for dominance. On the road in a hostile environment in which every call (or worse, every “no call”) seemed to go the way of the home team, it requires senior leadership to settle a team down and shake off the effects. A first quarter punt the was deflected by junior Kaleb Harris went without notice by the officials and resulted in a roughing the kicker penalty that extended Lincoln’s opening possession.
When the Alices made it to the North 20-yard line just moments later, it was a pair of seniors who teamed with the underclassmen to stymie the Lincoln drive. First, senior linebacker Sean Bennett teamed with Northington to tackle a runner for loss on first down. Northington then stopped a runner for a short gain on second down. On third down, senior Cale Johnson and Delshan Davis combined to sack the quarterback for a loss and the Alices were forced to attempt a long field goal that came up short.
In the game, the two seniors frustrated the Alice quarterback in a number of ways. In the second quarter alone, Bennett would help stall drives by either deflect or savagely hit receivers so that they dropped the ball three times. Johnson ended the game with seven tackles including three for loss to go along with the quarterback sack. When the defense required a ‘steadying hand’, it was these two who summoned the big plays.
North’s first score came on the strength of Mitchell Renfro’s leg with a 25-yard field goal to give the Huskies a 3-0 lead with just under eight minutes to play in the half. The celebration was short lived, however, when an Alice return man went 91 yards with the kickoff to give Lincoln a 7-3 lead. It was a moment in which the Lincoln sideline and the home crowd were standing, cheering, and chanting and could tell that the Huskies were ripe for collapse. On third and two for the Huskies at their 36, the roar was deafening as North lined up to try and get the momentum back in their favor. If there was a ‘pivot point’ in the game, this was it. Failure to gain a first down would have given the home team the ball back in decent field position and the initiative to run a wide-open offense.
And then the Huskies got the ball in Cale Johnson’s hands.
Throughout his career, Johnson has been a ‘big play’ defender coming up with key plays at the biggest moments of games. Fumble recoveries, blocked kicks, quarterback sacks, shoestring tackles, etc. have all been documented herein. What often goes overlooked has been his reliability as a tight end or H-back to deliver important blocks or a knack for knowing just where the first down marker was and catching passes that ‘moved the chains’.
At this critical point in the game, needing to return the momentum to North, Cale was again called upon to take charge.
Junior quarterback Sam McKinney lined up in the shotgun with St. Louis behind him and Johnson lined up behind the guard as an H-back. On the snap, McKinney faked a handoff to St. Louis and Johnson slipped through the line on a pass route ‘over the middle’.
Catching a ball ‘over the middle’ can be dicey. A receiver has to be willing to give up his body to hammer blows from opponent linebackers and safeties. Johnson’s team needed two yards and he has shown a willingness throughout his career to give whatever he has to give whenever the team needs it from him. He went up in the air to catch McKinney’s toss and was immediately hit by an Alice linebacker.
Cale shook off the shot like a world class middle weight boxer shakes off a hook by a contender. Unfazed by the hit, Johnson shed the defender and took off up field. Angling toward the Vincennes sideline, he picked up a downfield block from sophomore Grant Happe and made his way past the 50-yard line. Changing the ball to his left hand, he readied for a blow from the safety who stood in his way. Johnson lowered his shoulder and made the safety pay the price for standing between Cale and the goal line. Only a desperation dive by a defender at the seven-yard line prevented a touchdown.
Two plays later, Davis pulled down the line and delivered a crushing block that sprang St. Louis through the line and into the end zone and the Huskies led 10-3. In 90 seconds of play, the Huskies had regained the initiative thanks to a 57-yard play by Johnson.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, the second half began with another long kickoff return by the Alices. Despite a long kick to the two-yard line by junior Alex Hess, the return ended with the ball at the North 27-yard line where Northington made a touchdown saving tackle. The North defense appeared to withstand the assault when junior Jayden Hazelwood dropped a runner for loss and junior Kasey Hospelhorn batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. The Alices faced a fourth-and-12 at the 29 when their quarterback escaped a rush and turned a certain loss into a 20-yard gain to give his team first and goal at the nine-yard line. Two plays later they were in the end zone and led 14-10 with less than three minutes gone in the half.
LONG DRIVE STALLS IN THE RED ZONE
The two clubs exchanged punts following drives with multiple first downs and there were just four minutes to play in the third quarter when North took over at their 44. A combination of McKinney to Jaylonn Mitchell passes and sophomore Jason Rucker runs moved the ball to the Lincoln 12-yard line as the game rolled into the fourth quarter. An untimely false start penalty turned a fourth-and-two at the 12 into a fourth-and-seven at the 17. A McKinney to Mitchell pass fell incomplete and the Alices took over at the 17.
DEFENSE BENDS BUT REFUSES TO BREAK
There were ten minutes left to play in the game and Lincoln was content to use every second of the play clock as they tried to move the ball out from in front of their goal posts. After having proven unsuccessful in converting their first NINE third down opportunities in the game, the Alices strung together a 15-play drive in which they converted THREE consecutive third-and-longs and ate up nearly six minutes of clock.
Junior Kaleb Mitchell did his best as the Alices advanced down the field.
First, he forced an incompletion by hurrying the quarterback to set up third-and-nine at the 18 only to see Lincoln convert on third down with an 11-yard pass.
Second, he batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage to force a third-and-nine at the 43 Lincoln convert on third down with a 13-yard pass.
The steady onslaught continued as the clock wound down and Lincoln had first down at the North 30. It fell to Johnson and Northington to stop the advance.
On first down, the two captured a runner downfield and held him short of the first down to set up second-and-two. A Vincennes offside penalty moved the ball back five yards and then Johnson and junior Kaleb Vashon dropped a runner at the line of scrimmage. On third down, Johnson shot through the line, dropped a runner, and very nearly recovered a fumble following a four-yard loss. On fourth down, Northington tracked down a receiver in the open field and tackled him well short of the first down marker.
North had the ball at their 26 and there were just over four minutes to play. 74 yards separated the Huskies from the type of victory that is the hallmark of good teams: a come-from-behind long-drive touchdown in the fourth quarter on the road.
THE HUSKIES COME OF AGE
There are those moments in a season where a team demonstrates that they have matured and are now equal to any task placed before them. Some teams never achieve that level of competency—not for lack of talent but for a lack of maturity. Some teams are too young, some teams lack the skill, still others lack the coaching, and others lack the commitment. The 2022 Huskies came of age with four minutes to play on the road at Dale Inman Field in Vincennes.
A team chock-full of underclassmen with the right blend of senior leadership and an accomplished coaching staff on the sidelines reached a point of maturity that few North clubs have possessed in the last decade. Typical of the maturity and the sense of ‘team first’, senior Jaylonn Mitchell provided the ‘spark’ that lit the fire Friday night. It takes eleven players doing their job and on first down all eleven did just that for North, but Mitchell made a spectacular grab that ranks up there with the most important a Husky has made this season.
The sure handed receiver entered his senior season ranked in the Top 10 all-time in all of North’s career receiving categories. A full season at receiver would possibly have made him the school’s record holder in every category—passing Division One college players Deke Cooper and Brandon Stewart. Instead, circumstances dictated that he play quarterback to start the season. Jaylonn answered the call and engineered an upset of Memorial and wins over Harrison and Bosse. He manned the position until McKinney’s return and did so in a manner that exemplified a ‘team first’ mentality.
On first down, McKinney lined up in shot gun formation and the Alices sent a blitz package after him with both linebackers charging. Dixon, Davis, Caswell, Brasher, and Hazelwood provided a perfect pocket and Avier Mitchell and St. Louis accounted for the blitzing linebackers. Jaylonn Mitchell had lined up wide on the left with sophomore James Mercer stacked right behind him.
On the snap, Mercer backed off the line as though to receive a screen pass. McKinney and Mercer executed the fake pass to perfection and it caused the inside defender to leave Mitchell in one-on-one coverage. On the other side of the field, junior Lucas Pettit ran hard on post pattern designed to draw the deep safety toward him and away from Mitchell who was running a ‘go’ pattern down the sideline.
Every Husky player on the field executed on the play and the defense was neutralized by each of their efforts. It fell to Jaylonn Mitchell, however, to complete the success.
With a defender glued to Mitchell as they raced along the sideline, McKinney had few options of where he could deliver the ball. With an excellent pocket to throw from, he had time to throw the ball longer than the pattern actually called for. Mitchell had gained a half step on the defender, but if McKinney delivered the ball short, it would be ripe for interception. To deliver it on the money would likely result in an incompletion due to the placement of the defender. He had no choice but to throw it long and hope that Mitchell could reach up for the ball without going out of bounds.
Jaylonn Mitchell delivered.
Having gained separation from the defender, he leapt high in the air and managed to pull the ball down at the apex of his leap. The senior controlled his body so that when he fell, he fell inbounds with a 25-yard reception just inside Lincoln territory.
THAT MOMENT WHEN A GREAT TEAM RESPONDS
North had first down at the Alice 49-yard line with four minutes to play and three time-outs in their pocket. This was the moment that called for ‘old school’ football—the offensive line and the running back needed to take charge of the game and deliver a knock-out blow to the opponent.
The Huskies did exactly that.
If there was a critical moment in the ensuing six plays, it occurred on third-and-five at the 44. Handing the ball to St. Louis, he charged toward the right side of the line. Hazelwood ‘owned’ the right defensive end and pancaked him out of the way. ‘Big’ Ben Brasher made like a bulldozer and walled off the entire left side of the defense with a ferocious block on the tackle that simply piled up players behind him. Avier Mitchell led St. Louis into the hole and neutralized the linebacker. Eight yards downfield two safeties managed to wrestle St. Louis to the ground.
ST. LOUIS WILL NOT BE DENIED
The prettiest play of the drive came on second and six at the 32. Watching ‘big men’ Delshan Davis and Timothy Dixon pull from the left side guard and tackle spots, seeing Davis deliver a bruising trap block on the end, and then watching Dixon gallop like a fullback leading the way for St. Louis downfield before pummeling a safety was a thing of beauty. St. Louis was finally brought down at the 16 and two plays later hammered his way into the end zone. After Brasher and Hazelwood opened the hole that sprung him into the secondary on the touchdown run, Hazelwood was jumping up and down like a cheerleader as St. Louis tossed the ball to the official.
The Huskies had engineered the type of drive to which they had often fallen victim in seasons past. The club had reached that point where they had learned how to win a close one and then performed each play as a complete unit to make the 17-14 victory possible.
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|Sept 30 NORTH vs Vincennes Lincoln Possessions|
|N27||8||6||2||48||3||4:05||downs||St.Louis dropped short on 4th&8||0 - 0|
|V25||13||7||6||51||4||4:55||missFG||Lindsey misses 41yd FG short||0 - 0|
|NORTH--8th play of drive begins SECOND QUARTER|
|N20||15||8||7||80||5||7:05||FG||Renfro 25yd FG||3 - 0|
|V9||1||0||0||91||0||0:20||TD||McCrary 91yd TD KO Return||3 - 7|
|Lindsey XP kick|
|N28||4||3||1||72||1||1:50||TD||St.Louis 4yd TD run; follows C.Johnson 57yd reception||10 - 7|
|Renfro XP kick|
|V15||4||2||2||39||1||1:15||punt||K.Mitchell QB sack on 3rd&10||10 - 7|
|N16||3||2||1||2||0||1:30||punt||Renfro 44yd punt with no return||10 - 7|
|V38||11||4||7||35||3||2:15||downs||Barton defends 4th&11 pass||10 - 7|
|N28||2||2||0||8||0||0:45||half||10 - 7|
|N27||8||5||3||27||1||2:45||TD||Hunt 1yd TD run on 4th&Goal; follows McCrary 71yd KO return||10 - 14|
|Lindsey XP kick|
|N39||5||4||1||15||1||3:30||punt||Renfro 42yd punt rolls dead at V5||10 - 14|
|V5||4||3||1||15||1||1:20||punt||C.Johnson stops QB run on 3rd down||10 - 14|
|NORTH--10th play of possession begins FOURTH QUARTER|
|N44||11||7||4||39||3||5:35||downs||Pass to Mitchell incomplete on 4th&7||10 - 14|
|V17||15||11||4||54||4||5:55||downs||Northington stops receiver short on 4th&9||10 - 14|
|N26||8||6||2||74||3||3:35||TD||St.Louis 7yd TD run||17 - 14|
|Hess XP kick|
|V40||3||0||3||0||0||0:15||INT||Barton intercepts pass on 3rd&10||17 - 14|
|N48||4||4||0||10||1||1:00||game||17 - 14|
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