September 10, 2009

Indians Escape Memphis with 26-6 Win in Football Conference Opener

When the final tick of the clock sounded it was a 26-6 defeat for the Scotland County football team, but you couldn’t have told that story without looking at the scoreboard.

Holding the defending Class 2 state champions in check for most of the night, Scotland County actually had a number of opportunities to make what on paper appeared like a mismatch, to be far closer than the final margin.

The powerhouse Indians took the opening drive, and the SCR-I defense immediately set the tone. Clark County’s spread offense was contained on the opening drive, going three and out with a punt.

“That’s the first time in recent history against these guys that we were able to start a game with such positive momentum,” said Coach Brent Bondurant. “Anytime you can force Clark County to bring its punter on the field your defense has done well.”

After SCR-I went three and out on its first possession, Clark County mounted its first drive. But penalties ultimately stalled the possession and Clark County turned the ball over on downs.

SCR-I again went three and out with a punt, but the defense came to the rescue as lineman Jordan Fulk tipped a screen pass attempt by Clark County. The senior plucked the ball out of the air and returned the interception across midfield to the 31 yard line.

Three plays later, newcomer Cody Taft took the ball around the right end and scampered 26 yards for an apparent touchdown for SCR-I. But the play was called back on a holding penalty.

“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times tonight,” Bondurant said. “Take away the penalties and the turnovers and who knows what the score would have been.”

After the referees took some of the wind out of SCR-I’s sails, Clark County sank the ship on the very next play as Nathan Alderton intercepted a screen pass and returned it into scoring position for the Indians. Quarterback Justin Oilar culminated the drive with a two-yard TD pass to Zach Alderton with 28.7 seconds left in the first period. The PAT kick was no good leaving the score at 6-0.

Clark County looked poised the blow the game open after SCR-I turned the ball over on the very first play following a good kickoff return by Sabe Sears. Jonathon Howren scooped up the loose ball and returned it inside the 10-yard line.

A penalty backed up the Indians but Oilar found Ryan Whiston on a 16 yard touchdown pass to make it 12-0 with 11:39 left in the second period.

The Indians continued to put points on the board off of SCR-I turnovers. The Tigers got another good kick return by Sabe Sears. They mounted a drive behind the running of Kyle Shelley and Taft but lost the momentum on the second fumble of the first half.

Clark County quickly made it 20-0 as Justin Alderton scored on a four-yard touchdown run with 7:44 remaining in the first half.

Down by three scores, the Tigers refused to pack it in. Sears connected with Brandon Garnett on a 13-yard pass play. Taft moved the chains with a solid run before Sears found Harley Stone on an 18-yard completion to get the ball inside the 30. But SCR-I couldn’t put the ball in the end zone and turned the ball over on downs.

The second half started poorly for SCR-I. Some miscommunication on the opening kickoff left SCR-I with the ball at the two-yard line. After the Tigers went three and out, Clark County quickly made it 26-0 when Oilar connected with Mason Owen on an eight-yard TD pass with 9:03 left in the third period.

The Tigers looked poised to put some points on the board late in the third period. Taft and Shelley continued to pound the rushing attack at the Indians defenders, breaking tackles and picking up hard-fought yards after the initial contact.

But a fumble and a sack cost SCR-I 30 yards and forced a punt.

The Tigers quickly got the ball back to start the fourth period as Taft picked off an Oilar pass. But the turnover bug bit SCR-I again and Clark County recovered its third fumble of the night.

The Tigers defense made a huge stop on the ensuing possession. The Indians were turned back four times from inside the five yard line.

Taft then brought the Tiger faithful to their feet as he broke a 96-yard touchdown run to finally put SCR-I on the board at 26-6 with 7:02 left to play.

Somehow the Indians recovered a nearly perfect onside kick attempt. The Tigers defense did the job anyway and stopped the Indians.

Taft again electrified the stadium as he broke a 60-yard touchdown run. But once again a yellow flag nullified the play on a holding penalty.

With time running out, both teams turned the game over to the second squads in the final minutes as the clock ran out on the 26-6 Clark County win, once again securing “The Rock” rivalry game for the Indians and returning the Jason Rockhold memorial trophy to Kahoka.

Clark County racked up just over 400 yards of offense, gaining 18 first downs. Oilar completed 18 of 38 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Justin Alderton ran the ball 20 times for 97 yards and a score. The Indians were flagged 15 times for a total of 135 yards in penalties.

Scotland County picked up nine first downs on the night. Taft had 13 carries for 127 yards and a score. Shelley ran the ball 11 times for 40 yards. Sears completed three of eight passes for 33 yards. Stone, Rodney Sears and Garnett had the receptions.

The Tigers defense, playing without two injured starters, held the Clark County offense in check most of the night. Taft finished with 18 tackles and an interception. Shelley made 15 stops while Garnett had nine tackles.

“Not only did we do a pretty good job tackling tonight, these guys kept hitting all night and never stopped playing hard,” the coach said.

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