After Friday night’s game against the Carroll Cougars, Caston football coach Chris Ulerick probably had a lot of things to say to his team.
One thing he couldn’t say was his team didn’t have opportunities.
On a soggy night in Flora, two young football teams met in desperate need of a win. Since hammering Tri-County on Aug. 23, the Cougars have lost three straight games as well as their talented junior quarterback Jared Miller. Despite a change in offensive philosophy this season, Caston’s woes have ironically come on the defensive end.
Friday, that same defense forced six Carroll turnovers, but the Comets failed to capitalize and lost 20-6.
With steady showers throughout the first half, Carroll (2-3) kept it on the ground. Bruising junior fullback Jaden Reneau got the Cougars on the scoreboard in the first with a 35-yard run up the middle, ripping through Comet tackles.
Later in the first period, junior Brandon Dillon intercepted Quentin Douglass and returned it 35 yards for the score, putting the Cougars up 14-0 with 1:08 to play.
After stalling deep in their own territory for their first three drives, the Comets (1-4) got things moving when Douglass connected with sophomore Brayton Jellison for a 47-yard touchdown early in the second.
For the remainder of the half, Caston’s defense tightened up and forced three takeaways to keep the Cougars at bay. The Carroll defense was equally up to the task, allowing only six rushing yards on the night. The Comets finished the night with a dismal 67 yards of total offense.
Despite those totals, Caston was in the game. At least they were until Reneau struck again from 38 yards out to extend the lead to 20-6 with 8:10 to play in the third. The Cougars rolled up 248 rushing yards in the game.
Dillon was also a force for Carroll, dancing through Comet tacklers, picking up key yards down the stretch.
One bright spot for the Comets was Rex Smith. The senior filled the punting role admirably and gave the Comet defense several opportunities for good field position in some wet conditions.
In addition to his touchdown catch in the first half, Jellison had two interceptions on defense.
With turnovers coming in bunches, it was the Comet offense that obviously fizzled out after the initial score. Douglass ran for his life with virtually no time to set up and find receivers. When he did, his receivers couldn’t haul in the wet, slippery football.
Cass 46, Peru 7
Faced with a soggy field, drizzle which turned to heavy rain and a pesky opponent, Lewis Cass’ football team went back to basics Friday night. The result was the Kings found their stride in the second quarter and surged to a 46-7 victory over previously unbeaten Peru.
“Obviously, the field conditions weren’t great, it was kind of drizzly to start the game out,” Cass coach Scott Mannering said. “[I] didn’t think you could throw the ball well and we were able to move it on the ground so we stayed really basic and that worked. Sometimes you spend all week trying to out-think yourself and the stuff you did in June, or the stuff they’ve been doing since seventh and eighth grade is still good. That was key.”
Cass racked up 450 yards on the ground with Brendan McGehee running for 131 and Payton Young adding 105 as the Kings moved to 2-3 overall, 1-2 in the Mid-Indiana Conference.
Cass got another 79 yards out of Gabe Welch, 45 from Leland Bowling and 36 from James Champ.
The rain hit hard in the second quarter and so did the Kings. Cass led 7-0 after the first quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Welch to finish an 11-play drive, but the Bengal Tigers had a little life after stopping Cass once and showing a dangerous speed element on offense before stalling out with a sack on their first possession.
Cass unloaded in the second quarter, scoring three times. Quarterback Owen Ohman scored on a one-yard sneak, Young punched a hole at the line of scrimmage and surged 57 yards for a TD, and finally near the end of the half John Hartley pounced on a fumble in the end zone on a Peru punt attempt. That made the score 27-0 Cass at the half.
Peru (4-1, 2-1 MIC) scored on its first possession of the third quarter on a six-yard fake and keep by quarterback Nolan Brimbury for its only score.
“We asked our kids to make sure that half didn’t define who we are and I was very proud that we came out in the third quarter and got a drive put together and put points on the board,” Peru coach Bob Prescott said. “But by far the better team won.”
Brimbury ran for 30 yards and connected on five passes for 51 yards. Michael Richardson added 41 yards on the ground.
Cass scored three times after Peru’s TD. Ohman scored on another one-yard sneak, McGehee punched in from two yards out, and Bowling took a double handoff up the gut for a 20-yard TD.
Logan 39, Marion 13
Logansport’s recent losing streak in football has included some tough-luck losses, none tougher than last week’s loss to Anderson as time expired.
On Friday night the Berries took chance out of the equation with a dominating performance in the second half at Marion.
The Berries came out of the half a determined group and the Giants self-destructed, and Logansport was able to roll to a 39-13 win.
The Berries snapped a 12-game losing streak with the win and a 10-game losing streak in North Central Conference play.
The Berries (1-4, 1-2 NCC) played a pretty sloppy first half and trailed 13-12 at the break. But they got it going in the second half, outscoring the Giants 27-0 in the final two quarters including 20-0 in the third quarter.
In the second half Logan QB Ryan Schrock either handed the ball off to fullback Jacob Shelton or kept the ball on a fake on most of the plays in the second half. Schrock finished with 141 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 16 carries, and Shelton added 68 yards and two TDs on 13 attempts.
The Berries outgained the Giants 291-169 in total yardage, including 291-90 on the ground. The Giants completed just 5 of 19 passes for the game, and they had 10 penalties for 63 yards to go with three turnovers in the contest.
A big difference from last season was the Berries held Marion’s Will Collins in check. Last season Collins rushed for 411 yards and five TDs in the Giants’ 56-49 win at Berry Stadium. But on Friday night Collins didn’t have near the room to run he had a year ago, and he was held to 57 yards rushing on 11 carries and added one catch for six yards.
The Giants’ lone score of the night on offense was a 35-yard TD pass from Niko Trevino to Spencer Reynolds near the end of the first half.
Jacob Brown led the Berries’ defense with 8.5 tackles. Jose Salinas and Ed Hurst each had an interception. Salinas returned his pick 33 yards that set up a 2-yard TD run by Shelton that gave Logan a 32-13 lead late in the third quarter.
The Berries’ last win before Friday was in Week 2 last year against Peru. Their last NCC win was in October of 2011 against New Castle.
Pioneer 42, N. Judson 20
A very tough, hard hitting North Judson team entered Royal Center with plans of knocking off the reigning Midwest Conference champs, but the Pioneer Panthers were up to the challenge.
With a team that keeps improving from week to week the Panthers scored an impressive win over a good Bluejays squad, 42-20.
The Panthers (3-2) rushed the ball 58 times for 305 yards in the game. Justin Mersch led the way with 33 carries for 183 yards and three TDs. Sam Kiser picked up 63 yards and on 15 carries and had both a passing and rushing TD. J.P. Smith picked up 32 yards and a TD on seven attempts. Smith had two receptions for 28 yards while Caleb Kindley also had two catches for 27 yards and a TD.
Disaster struck for the Bluejays (2-3) with 4:18 left in the third quarter in a 28-20 game when standout fullback Eric Beckman had to leave the game with an apparent serious leg injury while playing defense.
Winamac 55, Tri-County 8
By the time Winamac held its homecoming festivities at halftime Friday night, the actual football game had been well decided.
The Warriors jumped out to a 48-0 lead at halftime against Tri-County and were able to cruise from there to a 55-8 win.
Tyler Katschke made the most of his brief cameo appearance on the night, rushing for 181 yards and four touchdowns on 12 carries. Parker Fox threw a 28-yard TD pass to Levi Schultz and added a 3-yard TD run. Keegan Kasten had a 22-yard TD run, and Andrew Risner added a 6-yard run for a score.
Inside linebacker Mitch Reed led the Winamac effort on defense with seven tackles, four assists, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Colin McGee added an interception that he returned 33 yards.
The Warriors (5-0, 4-0 MWC) led 21-0 after one quarter before adding 27 more unanswered points in the second.
The Cavaliers (1-4, 1-3) got on the board in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard TD run by Brenden Kidd.
The win sets up a showdown at No. 5 West Central next week.