View Mobile Site

Pelion big-play Knights for 28-22 win

Posted: October 6, 2012 1:33 p.m.
Updated: October 8, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Looking into his players’ eyes told Louis Clyburn all he needed to know as to the character of his North Central football team.
Tears streamed down the cheeks of many a Knights’ player following Friday’s 28-22 loss to host Pelion in a setback which was the third straight for the visitors who fell to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in Region 3-AA action.
Crying following a tough loss, Clyburn said, showed him that his players care.
“Tears are good. It shows me that losing hurts,” Clyburn said of the post-game scene. “For the first time since I’ve been at North Central, we have a group of guys here who believe that winning is important. And, that it hurts them when they lose.”
The Panthers improved to 3-4 with the win and Ben Freeman’s troops are now 2-0 in 3-AA action.
This game all boiled down to three plays which Pelion made against an NC defense that, aside from the scoring plays, probably did not give up 50 yards on the night, Clyburn said.
“We had our chances. This was a very evenly matched game,” Clyburn said. “They have a couple really good skill guys who hurt us.”
It was the Knights who started the scoring in this game, taking the opening kickoff and methodically moving the ball down the field on a 10-play march which was capped by Tristan McCathern’s two-yard scoring plunge for a 6-0 lead.
What Clyburn learned in the first series was that the Panthers would not give up yards freely.
“We couldn’t get big chunks of yardage. Their defensive line is huge and they loaded the box against us,” Clyburn said. “We had to get a two-yard run here, a three-yard pass there; we had to ‘dink and dunk’ it against them all night.”
The Knight defense was more than up to the challenge in forcing a PHS punt on the hosts’ first series and getting the ball back. The guests moved to the Panthers’ 30 and on a 10-yard screen pass had a lineman called for illegal use of hands, a call which Clyburn argued to no avail.
“We went from a first and 10 at the 20 to first and 25 from the 45 after that penalty,” he said. NC would get to a manageable fourth and eight, only to have J.P. Faulkenberry’s catch nullified as he was ruled out of bounds on the play.
Pelion scored for the first time on a fourth and eight from the NC 40 when a pair of Knight defenders ran into each other as the ball carrier got to the corner and was able to score to give the hosts a 7-6 lead some three minutes into the second half.
The Panthers used a 30-yard scoring pass on a third and 12 to go on top 13-6 before tacking on another second quarter score when a muffed punt was recovered by Pelion at the NC 20, leading to another scoring pass in the final minute which gave Pelion a 20-6 lead going into halftime.
“Those three scoring plays accounted for more yardage than they probably had in all their other plays combined in the first half,” Clyburn said.
After a scoreless third quarter, NC struck back early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Grayson King hooked up with wide out Clarence Williams on a 40-yard scoring pass. Lamont Fraizer then carried the ball in for the two-point conversion which drew the Knights to within 20-14.
Pelion came back, following an exchange of punts, to score on a 30-yard pass on fourth down to increase the lead to 28-14. The play was set up by an interception on a miscommunication on a pass route.
NC was not done, yet, however as the Knights got the ball back and drove down the field with McCathern closing the gap to 28-20 with a five-yard scoring run. Faulkenberry would haul in the 2-point conversion pass from King and with 4:30 left in the game, NC trimmed the deficit to 28-22.
With three times out left, while PHS was out of time outs, Clyburn decided to kick away rather than to try an onside kick.
“As good as our defense was playing and by having all our time outs left, we felt that we could stop them and we decided to kick it to them,” Clyburn said.
The Panthers would salt this one away by getting a pair of first down, both by inches, on a third down and then, a fourth down running plays.
After the game, Clyburn said the Knights threw everything they had at Pelion. “We didn’t leave any plays in our bag,” he said. “Their defense is pretty stout.”
Clyburn said the effort was there, on both team’s part. As for the Knights, their head coach said they did not quit and made this a close game at the end.
“This was the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve been down two touchdowns at halftime and had a chance to win the game in the second half and, the fourth quarter,” Clyburn said. “We talk to our kids about giving yourself a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter; we did that in this game. But you can’t be satisfied just being in a game at the end; you have to be able to win the game.

“I thought that our coaches made some great adjustments at halftime and we played much better in the second half.”
After the game, Clyburn said both he and Freeman talked about how it was a shame that either side had to walk away with the loss in what was a well-played and clean game by both teams.
“Coach Freeman has been there a long time and does such a great job at Pelion, first of all,” Clyburn said.
“You take away those three big plays and our defense doesn’t give up anything.
“This was a very close game. Our kids played hard and their kids played hard. It was a fun football game to be a part of, it was just a chame that one team had to lose.
“This game is what high school football is all about. Both teams played hard and played that way until the end of the game. We were just the ones that came up short.”
The Knights will try and snap their three-game skid when Eau Claire comes to Boonetown on Friday. It will also be homecoming at the school.
With the chance to still earn a home game in the state playoffs, Clyburn said the road to get to that point begins this week.
“We have to go back and start working again on Monday to get ready to play a very athletic Eau Claire team,” Clyburn said. “We have a chance to get back to .500 with a win and still have a chance for a good season.”


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

Contents of this site are © Copyright 2018 Chronicle Independent All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...