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GOSHEN – One program is building for the future, laying the foundation for better days.
The other program is playing for the here and now, out to win a district title and possibly compete for more.
It was obvious which program was which Friday night at Mustang Stadium.
North Oldham’s talented and veteran team had its way with a rebuilding Oldham County squad, beating the Colonels 42-7 in a dominating performance.
The Mustangs (1-0), who compete in Class 4A, have now won all four meetings against the Colonels (0-2) of the larger Class 6A.
“We set a goal to be undefeated at home and (county) champs,” senior center Jo Austin Pierce said. “This obviously sets the standard for the years to come.”
North dominated the game Friday, as evidenced by the yardage totals. The Mustangs accumulated 393 yards.
The Colonels, playing just their second game under coach Mike Shatzer, tallied 58 yards.
That disparity included a negative rushing total for OC – -10 yards on 18 official attempts.
“I’m just pleased to get a win over whoever it is any week but it’s special when you beat an in-town rival,” Mustangs coach Billy Martin said. “It’s a bigger school and all the schools used to call us the little brother because we’re smaller, so it’s a good game to compete against someone a little bigger. That makes us better when we get down into some 4A games.”
North set the tone on its first drive, going 82 yards on seven plays over 3:56. The drive was punctuated by Arien Beasley’s first touchdown run of the night, a 48-yard scamper on a toss to the right side.
The Mustangs got the ball back on the Colonel 29-yard line after a long Matt Clark punt return. They made their way to the goal line before senior quarterback Taylor Heckenberg went in from inches out on a sneak for North’s second touchdown.
A Brandon Peege extra point made the first-quarter score 14-0.
The quick start answered the question of how North would deal with its season opener after the game it was supposed to start the year with, an Aug. 22 tilt with Evansville (Ind.) Central, was canceled due to weather.
“We had so much energy built up from not being able to play last week and I feel like we were ready to play from day one,” Heckenberg said. “...I feel like with all our seniors we know what the game’s like and the pregame nerves just don’t affect us as much because we know what to do.”
The Mustangs flinched early in the second quarter. After a Kevin Graham fumble, OC marched down to the one-yard line.
Colonel senior quarterback James Harding converted a QB sneak from there to make the score 14-7.
That proved to be the last time OC threatened, much less scored, all night.
“We didn’t answer momentum on our turnover down there that got them the score,” Martin said of the OC score. “I would’ve liked to have seen them dig in there.
“But for the rest of the game they were lights out, just flying around, talking, communicating, hitting, doing the things good defensive teams do.”
The Mustang offense answered on its next drive. With a 1st and 10 and the ball at the Colonel 30, senior wingback Chris Webb ran the ball three straight times.
He gained 12 yards and nine yards before following the left side of the offensive line into the end zone on a nine-yard pitch to make the Mustang lead 21-7 with 8:19 left in the first half.
Senior wingback Chris Burton, a North basketball player who re-joined the football team for the first time since freshman year this fall, pushed the lead to 28-7 on the Mustangs’ next drive with a seven-yard touchdown run.
North scored third-quarter touchdowns on Beasley runs of 46 and five yards to cap off the night’s scoring and result in the 42-7 win.
Beasley led all players with 137 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries.
Heckenberg ran for a touchdown and was efficient in the passing game, completing 8-of-11 passes for 96 yards.
“I think the passing game is pretty efficient,” said Clark, who caught three passes for 73 yards. “We’re not all the way there yet because we had a few mishaps.
“Some players ran the wrong routes on some plays. But overall we’re at about 85, 90 percent there. When we hit 100 that’ll be something to reckon with.”
The Mustang defense was dominant Friday, sacking Harding three times and stuffing the OC run game.
The Colonels’ featured back, Jason Henry, ran for 10 yards on 11 carries. In the passing game, Harding was 5-for-22 for 53 yards.
Junior linebacker Wes Johnson recorded one of North’s sacks and also came up with an interception.
“Our defensive line and linebackers were just filling like crazy and that forced them to throw,” Johnson said. “Our defensive backs just couldn’t have played better.
“They were swatting everything. (OC) couldn’t hardly do anything. They were at a standstill.”
North has a lot of season ahead of itself. That includes a game next week against rival Christian Academy-Louisville, a matchup next month with crosstown foe South Oldham and its district schedule.
But if the Mustangs play the way they performed Friday, they might be staring down an historic year.
“We can be as good as we want to be,” Heckenberg said. “As long as we keep a strong work ethic I feel like we can accomplish anything we want.”
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