1998 NHS Season Statistics
Evansville Courier & Press Newspapers ALL CITY/METRO Selections
|Miller||Jarad||OG||6-3||250||Sr.||Courier & Press||Both papers|
|Neidlinger||Alex||TE||6-3||210||Sr.||Courier & Press; IFCA||Both papers; IFCA 5A All State|
|Aug. 21||Evansville Bosse||Win 22-3|
|Aug. 28||Henderson County (Ky.)||Loss 12-29|
|Sep. 4||Evansville Harrison||Loss 13-54|
|Sep. 12||Evansville Mater Dei||Loss 0-28|
|Sep. 18||Castle||Loss 8-32|
|Sep. 25||Evansville Memorial||Win 28-21|
|Oct. 2||Evansville Reitz||Loss 6-13|
|Oct. 9||Louisville Fern Creek (Ky.)||Loss 6-27|
|Oct. 16||Evansville Central||Win 53-27|
|Oct. 30||Evansville Harrison||Win 22-21|
|Nov. 6||Jeffersonville||Loss 30-34|
|player||first||pts||TD||PAT 1||XPM||PAT 2||FG||S|
With their returning quarterback electing not to play football anymore, the Huskies found themselves counting on an untested signal caller again in 1998. In spite of a strong start to the season, it would take the better part of seven games before the offense would find their rhythm.
With QB Adam Kunkel under center, the Huskies continued their domination of the Bosse Bulldogs in the season opener. Handing off to RB Dee Clardy time and again, the Huskies ran rough shod over the outmatched Bulldogs. Clardy carried the ball 29 times on the evening for 149 yards and a touchdown. Kunkel hooked up with both of his favorite targets, WR John Grimmer and TE Alex Neidlinger, with Grimmer getting two scores.
Part of the reason that the offense had such a productive game was the response of the defense to new coordinator Marty Ohlsen’s schemes. Holding Bosse to just 31 yards rushing on the evening, the defense forced four turnovers and got the season off to a great start
The following week it was North’s offense that got clamped down upon as they went up against the #3 ranked team in Kentucky’s highest class—Henderson County. The Colonels held the Husky running game to a meager 49 yards, forced two fumbles, and picked off four passes in route to a 26-12 win.
It was North’s poor fortune to start the season with four of their first five games against top ten rated teams. Week 3 brought #4 (5A) ranked Harrison and the Warriors humbled the Huskies 54-13. Mater Dei was ranked #3 (2A) and capitalized on North mistakes early in a 28-0 shutout.
The ranked teams were taking a toll on North’s roster in the form of injuries as well. The Huskies were forced to field a team against #10 (5A) Castle that was loaded with sophomores. North's lone highlight of the game occurred just before half. Taking over on their own one yard line with a few minutes to play before the break, North hammered out a 99 yard drive. Young RB Derenzo Bushrod had been forced into a starting role due to an injury to Dee Clardy and keyed the drive with two third down conversions. When the ball reached the one yard line, Kunkel again called Bushrod’s number and the running back dove towards the goal line. Losing his grip on the ball, he fumbled forward into the end zone where team mate Jared Porter fell on the ball to complete the 99 yard drive.
The lessons learned at Castle were put on better display versus Memorial in week 6. RB Dee Clardy returned from injuries and carried 24 times for 157 yards and two scores (one of them a 59 yard breakaway). This time, however, he had a new backfield mate as Derenzo Bushrod continued to get additional playing time and he would pay huge dividends. With the game tied at 21 in the 4th quarter, the young sophomore turned the corner and broke lose for the 49 yard game winning touchdown.
QB Adam Kunkel pierced the Reitz defense the following week. He completed 13 of 24 yards for over 200 yards passing. His direction had the Huskies in position to win as they marched down field in the game’s closing minutes. Repeatedly finding WR John Grimmer (who caught 5 passes for 110 yards in the game), an upset seemed to be within North’s grasp. The comeback failed however when Reitz made their only interception of the game in their own end zone with fewer than 60 seconds to play.
The onslaught of highly ranked opponents continued when North battled Fern Creek High (Louisville, KY), the commonwealth’s #5 ranked team in 4A. Just like the ranked teams before them, they overpowered the young offensive line and shut down the Husky running game in a 27-6 win.
With Central having won three consecutive games this season and having upset North the last two times the teams had met, the Bears were heavy favorites entering Central Stadium.
They were big time losers when they left.
With RB Dee Clardy carrying the ball 31 times in the game, North rushed for over 300 yards, threw for another 55, and racked up 53 points in a blitzkrieg that left the Bears wondering what truck had run them over. Clardy ran for 177 yards and 2 TD’s, RB Derenzo Bushrod ran in a score along with QB Kunkel. WR John Grimmer found paydirt with a 30 yard reception and TE-DE Alex Neidlinger caught a pair of two point conversions as well as returning a Central fumble 40 yards for a touchdown.
While that may have seemed to be the highlight of the season, the best was yet to come.
Coach Wilson’s club drew the bye in the Sectional’s first round and the extra week was put to effective use. It had to be. Not only would Harrison represent North’s sixth game against a top 10 ranked opponent, Harrison was an especially tough nut to crack. This particular Warrior club had beaten the Huskies by a combined 167-20 in their last three meetings over two seasons.
North, however, was laying in wait for the Warriors this time. The 10-0 Warriors were ranked #4 in 5A and were touting themselves as the tri-state’s best team since the ’95 Huskies. Harrison was working on a 23 game SIAC winning streak and came out swinging. Working their way to a 21-6 second half lead, the Warriors could not quite shake the game Husky ball club who were exceeding everyone’s expectations.
Everyone’s except their own, that is.
When RB Dee Clardy scored with 6:12 to play, it cut the Warrior lead to 9 points. Following RB Charles Robinson’s 2 point conversion, the lead was down to seven. Coach Ohlsen’s defense made a big stand following the kickoff and forced Harrison to punt. The Huskies got the ball back on their own 39 yard line. QB Adam Kunkel engineered an eleven play drive that carried the Huskies to the Harrison twelve yard line with only enough time left on the clock for one final play. Under a heavy rush, the play broke down, and Kunkel scrambled. Hit as he threw the ball, the quarterback only knew that he tossed the ball in the direction of a green jersey in the back of the end zone. WR John Grimmer leapt high and came down with the ball for a touchdown as the gun went off.
Still trailing by one point, Coach Wilson chose to go for two rather than risk overtime against a bigger, more powerful ball club. The gamble worked when Kunkel ran the ball in himself for the two point conversion to put North back in the sectional finals for the fourth time in seven years with a dramatic 22-21 upset victory.
The sectional final versus Jeffersonville could only be described as a wild affair. With the Red Devils holding a 21-6 lead late in the third quarter, the Huskies rallied in the hands of WR John Grimmer. Not withstanding RB Dee Clardy’s 29 carry, 201 yard, 2 TD performance, Grimmer was nearly the hero when he played the single greatest game a North receiver ever played. He caught 7 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown.
North erased the deficit and took the lead 22-21 with 1:10 to play in the game. Following a botched kickoff return by Jeffersonville, it appeared that the Red Devils were done since they were pinned in on their 4 yard line. A blown coverage and a missed tackle contributed to a 96 yard touchdown pass on the next play and Jeffersonville lead 27-22 with 55 seconds on the clock. After failing on their two point conversion attempt, they kicked the ball deep to North and held the return to the Huskies 17 yard line.
North lined up in a spread formation and QB Adam Kunkel tossed the ball into the flat to back up QB Kelmane Dixon who had entered the game as a wide receiver. Dixon then let fly with a second pass to Grimmer who went 83 yards to give North a 28-27 lead with only 36 seconds to play. Following a two point conversion, North kicked off with a 30-27 lead.
With the ball spotted on the twenty yard line and only 26 seconds on the clock, Jeffersonville once again needed a miracle. They got it. One play, one pass. 80 yards later, the Red Devils scored the game winning touchdown and walked off the field 34-30 winners.
Four touchdowns had been scored in the game’s final one minute and ten seconds of play. The season ended with a defeat, but the foundation was in place for a new North dynasty. The torch had been passed and the Huskies were ready for another run.
DEFENSE-- 2 pts each for solo, cause or recover fumble, sack, int, blk kick; 1 pt each for assist and tackle for loss
No 1998 Defensive Statistics are available at this time