By ROB HAMILTON
While host Highland hurt themselves plenty of time in the first half with penalties in their Friday night game with Northmor, their defense prevented the Knights from mustering a threat until the outcome had been decided in a 35-7 win by the Scots.
Northmor didn’t reach Highland’s half of the field until the fourth quarter and were forced to punt on their first seven possessions — feats that made Scot coach Chad Carpenter happy.
“Defensively, we stepped up and played well,” he said after his squad improved to 4-0 in league play, 4-3 overall, with their fourth straight win. “We took them out of a lot of things they were trying to do.”
The Scots were also proficient in moving the ball on the ground. On their first possession, a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive, the team got carries of 10 and eight yards from Dakota Bunting, a nine-yard dash from Logan Veley and a nine-run dash by Jared Limings, which set up a six-yard scoring run, also by Limings.
Carpenter noted that his offensive line did a nice job of opening holes for the backs and those players were able to take advantage.
“They had a lot of nice holes,” he said. “It’s really a team effort. We did a good job all the way through. I thought the guys up front did a great job.”
A personal foul penalty on Highland gave Northmor a first down at their 36 on their opening possession, but back-to-back sacks of quarterback Jake Farley pushed them back and necessitated a punt.
It looked like Highland would drive back down the field and score, as Limings, Bunting, Veley, Andrew Stillwell and quarterback Max Schreiber all took turns running the ball as the Scots gained yards on nearly every play. However, a personal foul pushed them back from the Knight 15 to the 30 and Satchel Denton’s 47-yard field goal attempt fell short.
The Scot defense would continue to perform though, forcing a three-and-out. Highland would fumble the ensuing punt and give the ball back to Northmor, but then forced two more sacks and made the Knights punt again.
Taking the ball at their own 33, the Scots immediately scored on a long run by Alex Wright, but a holding call took those points off the board. Highland would be undeterred, driving 76 yards in eight plays, with the final 40 coming on a scoring run by Wright. Denton’s extra point made it 14-0.
The Scots would have one more possession in the first half after forcing a quick punt, but penalties wiped out a pair of nice gains and kept the margin at 14 points entering the half.
“We had a lot of penalties tonight,” said Carpenter. “That’s something we’ll have to go back and clean up. It’s not something we’re happy about.”
Highland would put the game away with scores on three straight possessions covering the third quarter and opening play of the fourth. After forcing a Knight punt on the opening possession of the second half, they drove 64 yards on the ground to make it 21-0. Back-to-back runs of 25 and 19 yards by Bunting helped move the team deep into Knight territory and Limings would finish the drive with a nine-yard dash.
After inducing yet another punt, the Scots got three carries for 41 yards by Limings to set up a 17-yard scoring run by Bunting. Limings would score again from 10 yards out to open the fourth quarter by giving his team a 35-0 lead.
Northmor would not give up, though, getting a 41-yard pass from Jake Farley to Demetrius Johnson to move the ball from near mid-field to the Highland 10-yard line. Two plays later, Johnson would hit the end zone on a nine-yard scoring run. Farley’s extra point made the score 35-7 with 7:52 remaining.
That would be all the scoring, though, as both teams primarily played their JVs down the stretch. Highland will host Fredericktown next week in a battle between the two teams still perfect in league play. Northmor (2-5, 1-3) wlll also be at home, as they’ll take on Mount Gilead.
“It’s a big week,” said Carpenter of playing the Freddies. “It’s a big rivalry game for us and the kids are excited to get into that game, but we’ll approach it like any other game.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS