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SHELBYVILLE – If it could've gone wrong for North Oldham football Friday night, it did.
That's how Mustang coach Billy Martin diagnosed North's 35-6 loss at Titan Stadium, a defeat that cost the Mustangs a chance to win Class 4A, District 3 outright.
North (6-3, 3-1 district) instead finishes second in the district behind Collins (7-2, 4-0) and must go on the road if it makes the second round of the playoffs.
“We're a better football team than that,” Martin said. “We had a great week of practice. I don't understand why it went south the way it did. We'll get better for it and look forward to possibly seeing them again in the third (playoff) round.”
Bounces went against North throughout the night, figuratively and, at one crucial point, literally.
North, trailing 7-3, forced a Collins punt on the first play of the second quarter. Blanton Creque's punt was short and took a sideways bounce, hitting the Mustangs' Jake Collins.
The Titans recovered the ball at their 48, retaining possession.
Several plays later Collins running back Masai Whyte ran in from two yards out to stretch the Titan lead to 14-3.
“That hurt,” Martin said of the punt that hit Jake Collins. “He was running to get out of the way and it just hit left and shot straight right, which I've never seen... That changed the momentum.”
The Mustangs turned the ball over in the middle of the field again on their next possession. Quarterback Keenan Dowd lost the ball on a sack at his 44 yard line and the ball was recovered by Collins. Three plays later Titan quarterback Lawson Page found Western Kentucky commit Deandre Farris on a 41 yard pass over North's Quentin Shea in the end zone. That made the score 21-3 in favor of Collins.
Brandon Peege's second 33-yard field goal of the half came right before halftime, cutting the deficit to 21-6 and making it a two-possession game.
Unfortunately for North that was as close as it would get the rest of the night.
Page hit Nathan Sames on a 31 yard touchdown pass to cap off Collins' first drive of the second half and make the score 28-6.
Page threw his third TD pass to a third different receiver in the fourth quarter, hitting Landon Forrest on a 59-yard seam route in the fourth quarter to make the score 35-6.
All the while, North had three drives inside the Titans' 10-yard line in the second half. Those resulted in one fumble and two missed fourth down conversions.
“I feel like we didn't try as hard as we possibly could,” said Arien Beasley, who finished with 37 yards on 11 carries, well below his 102 yard per game average. “We could've gave it a lot more effort. Everybody was cold, tired. We were getting let down after every big play that they made. It's just a game we need to learn from.”
North was out-gained Friday 412-258. The Mustangs, who came into Friday averaging 302 rushing yards per game, were held to 149 on 40 carries.
Page completed 12-of-19 passes for 227 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 67 yards, tied with Ryan Watkins for the team high.
There's a good chance these two teams will see each other again next month. North and Collins will both be matched with Class 4A, District 4 teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Should the Mustangs and Titans emerge unscathed, they'll meet again at Titan Stadium in the state quarterfinals.
“We need to watch film and fix the mistakes we made tonight,” Martin said. “We'll want to take care of business against East Jessamine next week (in the regular season finale), finish 7-3, get that first home playoff game and hopefully roll from there.”
North Oldham 3 3 0 0 -- 6
Collins 7 14 7 7 -- 35
NO -- Peege 33 FG, 8:06
C -- Watkins 9 run, 3:30
C -- Whyte 2 run, 9:23
C -- Page 41 pass to Farris, 4:37
NO -- Pegge 33 FG, :10
C -- Page 31 pass to Sames, 8:56
C -- Page 59 pass to Forrest