October 25, 2012

Tigers Close Out Junior High Football Season Unbeaten

Aaron Buford eludes the Putnam County defender during junior high football action earlier this season.

The Scotland County R-I junior high football team closed out the 2012 season unbeaten.

The lone bump in the road came in week three against Milan. The Tigers held a slim 16-14 lead heading into the fourth period before putting the game away 30-14 with two late scores.

"That game was a lot closer than the final score shows," said Coach Lance Campbell. "It was really tight before we managed to score late in the fourth period. We tacked on another score off a turnover to make the scoreboard look a little different."

The coach credits the close contest to the Wildcats size advantage.

"We matched up with everyone we played, size-wise, maybe even being a little bigger than some of the others," Campbell said. "That wasn't the case with Milan. They were huge and that gave us some problems on offense."

That was not the case the rest of the season.

SCR-I opened the year with a 48-6 win over North Shelby. That was followed up by a 40-6 victory over Clark County. After getting by the Wildcats, SCR-I dispatched Schuyler County 32-8 to improve to 4-0.

Early on, the offense centered around the running game. Riley Kliethermes and Ryan Slaughter were the featured backs along with Gage Dodge and Austin Day. Combined with quarterback Aaron Buford, SCR-I simply had too many weapons for opposing defenses to contain.

The nightmare created by the Tigers offense for opposing defenders got worse in week five, when Campbell unleashed the SCR-I passing game. Buford threw for five TDs against Putnam County in a 54-22 victory.

"Up to that point, we really hadn't needed to pass the ball, as the ground game was getting it done," Campbell said. "Really, we had a very balanced offense, talent wise, equally capable of moving the ball on the ground or through the air."

Buford's leading targets were Ian See, Grant Campbell and Lane Pence.

The coaching staff praised the work of all the backs but were quick to give credit for much of the success to work being done in the trenches. Campbell said Chase Cook, Will Pickerell, Lane Mohr, Alex Hunolt, Stephen Terrill and Bryson Orton opened the holes for the running attack and provided the protection for the passing game.

The Tigers closed out their perfect season with a 34-7 victory over Knox County.

The junior high team featured 18 eighth graders, and Campbell said that group of kids should give the high school program a boost next season.

"The bulk of our starters were eighth graders, so that is going to leave lots of opportunities for some of these younger kids to step up next year," Campbell said.

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