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NEW CASTLE – The North Oldham Mustangs hit the stretch run against Henry County Friday and found that extra gear.
NOHS, ranked No. 11 in the 3A, scored twice in the fourth quarter to gain a minor 18-14 upset over No. 3 Henry County and pick up the all important district win.
“It was an exciting win for us,” NOHS coach Billy Martin said. “I am just really proud of the kids. You could just see the maturity level take over late in the game. The key guys made key plays.”
In beating Henry, the Mustangs raised their record to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the district. Henry County, who had outscored its previous three opponents 206-0 this year, dropped to 3-1. The win also avenged two losses to the Wildcats last year including one in the district championship.
“We got a little bit of revenge which was good for the kids and for our community,” Martin said.
The Mustangs held a 3-0 lead at the close of the first period thanks to a 40-yard field goal from Paul Althoff.
Henry County came back to dominate the second period with two scores to grab a 14-3 lead.
The Wildcats took advantage of an NOHS turnover to score on the first possession when Luke Magness scored on a two-yard plunge. The second score came after a pair of pass interference penalties on NOHS, with Magness scoring from eight-yards out.
The second half, and especially the fourth quarter, however, belonged to the Mustangs who ramped up their hitting and began to control the line of scrimmage as the game wore on.
“You know how some games have a different sound to them, this one was like that,” Martin said. “It was like a whole lot of car wrecks going on out there. I was really pleased that we matched them physically. That was the big difference from last year when we didn’t do that.”
NOHS’ physical play set up its first score in the fourth quarter when Ryan Anderson and Andrew Tuller sacked Henry County quarterback Hayden Yancey and forced a fumble that the Mustangs recovered at the Henry 20.
“It was a vicious hit,” Martin said. “Anderson hit him low and Tuller came in high and the ball came free.”
It took NOHS just three plays to score when quarterback Chase Maddox took it over on the three. Maddox then hit Jacob Manor with a two-point conversion pass to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 14-11.
NOHS’ defense held the next series forcing a Henry County punt.
Starting from their own 28 with just over four minutes left in the game, the Mustangs drove 72 yards in nine plays.
Maddox took the ball over on an eight-yard run for the game winning score with 44 seconds left to play.
NOHS faces another big game at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they go to South Oldham.
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