- Special Sections
- Public Notices
GOSHEN – Taking back the county title was one of the biggest goals for North Oldham’s senior class this year.
Now Nick Thome, Quentin Shea, Adam Judd, Austin Metcalfe and the rest of the Mustang seniors can finish their careers as the Oldham County champs.
North beat South Oldham 34-12 Saturday night, clinching a 2-0 record against county teams this season. The Mustangs had already beaten Oldham County 31-28 in late August.
“It feels awesome,” Shea said of winning the county title. “I can’t even begin to describe how good that feels for all the seniors – the last time we’re playing Oldham and South and we’re able to beat them.”
One year ago North lost a 43-42 double-overtime heartbreaker against the Dragons as South took the county title from the Mustangs. Saturday, North took the title back by moving the ball efficiently and keeping South’s running attack contained.
The Mustangs rushed 46 times for 364 yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile quarterback Taylor Heckenberg effectively managed the game, completing 12-of-14 passes for 87 yards.
Defensively North held South to just 16 offensive plays in the first half. The Mustangs game plan going in was to take away the Dragons’ option game, linebacker Kevin Graham said.
“We each had a person we had to take,” Graham said. “The quarterback, fullback, anyone, we were able to stop it.”
The defense pitched a first half shutout and Shea touchdown runs of three and seven yards gave the Mustangs a 13-0 halftime lead.
South came out clicking in the third quarter, scoring touchdowns on an eight-yard Chase Lightfoot run and five-yard scoring pass from Lightfoot to Ticorion Williams. But the Dragons missed both extra points, and North was able to take a 13-12 lead to the fourth quarter.
That’s when Arien Beasley, who’d been contained much of the night, made his mark on the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, with a first down on the South 26, Heckenberg handed off to Beasley. The junior was supposed to run up the middle, but found a seam on the left side of the field. He avoided a tackle in the backfield, turned up the field and sprinted 26 yards down the sideline for a touchdown that put North up 20-12 after the extra point.
Beasley finished the night with 56 yards on 11 carries, averaging just three yards per rushing attempt other than his long TD run.
“I don’t know if they were keying on him or what, but they did a good job of controlling him up in there,” North coach Billy Martin said. “He got that one run, ended up bouncing it. That wasn’t designed to go there.
“I’m over there yelling ‘Dang it, what’s he doing?’ and he outruns the guy to the corner.”
Thome pushed the lead back to two scores on the Mustangs’ next possession, running 67 yards up the middle for a touchdown to put North up 27-12.
South had a chance to score on its next drive, getting a first down at Mustangs’ nine-yard line with less than five minutes to play.
After throwing an incompletion on first down, Lightfoot ran six yards to the three-yard line on second down. Kevin Kuriger gained a yard on third-and-goal, setting up fourth-and-goal at the two.
The Dragons went back to Kuriger on fourth, but a host of North defenders stepped in and made the stop, preserving a two-score lead.
“We pretty much dominated (the fourth) quarter so it was good to finish that off without letting them get a score there,” Martin said. “Our guys stood up and had some pride.”
Thome put the finishing touches on the win with a 92-yard touchdown run that pushed the Mustang lead to 34-12 with two minutes to play.
“In the second half, we kind of got shaken there a little bit because they scored those two touchdowns,” Thome said. “We came back after that and put it to the floor and went all out.”
Thome finished the night with 182 yards on 10 carries. Shea added 94 yards on 13 attempts.
The loss marked the end of an emotional couple of weeks for the South program. Coach Jamie Reed re-joined the team Saturday night for the first time in nine days.
He’d left the team Sept. 12 to be with family in Texas in the wake of his mother’s death. Offensive line coach Carey Figg filled in as head coach while Reed was away.
“We try to keep (the players) sheltered as best we can from all the distractions,” Reed said. “But I mean it’s tough when your coach is not there and they’re worried about you. Our team is a real tight-knit family… North, obviously they played better tonight and my hat’s off to them.”
Martin said he had a lot of respect for how Reed and the rest of the South program handled the situation.
“I was in the same situation in 2010 and my guys picked it up for me,” Martin said. “They have for him too… He’s done a wonderful job (at South) and he’s a good guy on top of that.”
Both teams will begin district play at 7:30 this Friday night. The Dragons will host Conner, led by Kentucky quarterback commit Drew Barker. That game will be broadcast by the Pegasus Sports Network and can be heard at www.pegasussportsky.com.
North will play host to district rival Spencer County.
“If we’re able to ... make a run in the playoffs I think that may even be a better feeling than this,” Shea said. “Even though this is awesome.”
Email us about this story at firstname.lastname@example.org