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North Oldham opens up offense in 45-6 route over Oldham County

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By Elliott Pratt

 BUCKNER — North Oldham knew at the beginning of the week what it was going to run for its first play on offense against county-rival Oldham County.

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Since the Mustangs only completed one pass in their season opener, it was time to set the tone early through the air.

North did that and kept it going for 60 minutes in a dominating 45-6 win over Oldham County Friday night in Buckner.

On the first play of the game, senior quarterback TC Falkner faked a sweep play and found senior Justin Yurt wide open down the right sideline for a 73-yard touchdown just 18 seconds into the contest.

"I think they were going to be keying hard on counters and sweep plays, so we faked that sweep play and thought they executed it well," North coach Billy Martin said. "I thought it would be there because it's kind of different from what we do. I told them on Monday it was going to be the first play of the game."

Falkner finished the game 6-of-7 for 176 yards and two touchdowns, both to Yurt.

"Right when I saw the safety bite, I thought, 'This is it, this is how we start so let's go,'" Falkner said. "It's nice to be able to open up the offense and work the pass and the run."

North Oldham (2-0) made it five-straight victories in the young series with Oldham County after outgaining the Colonels 316-137 on offense. The Mustangs have outscored the Colonels 87-13 in the last two meetings.

First year player Justin Yurt had two catches for 91 yards with two scores and an interception before halftime in his first game experiencing a county rivalry. He also had the game's final score on a 95-yard kick return return for a touchdown.

"It's unreal," Yurt said. "It's on another level. I don't think I'll ever experience anything like this in sports. Just the energy and what's going on in your head. You're not thinking about anything outside of football and you're just thinking about smacking that other team."

Oldham County avoided back-to-back shutout losses thanks to a special teams play by William Stanley late in the fourth quarter, who returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.

North's six points allowed were the first points allowed this season after shutting out Western 41-0 in the season opener in Goshen.

Special teams for the Colonels and a few solid offensive drives were a bright spot for a team struggling to find rhythm offensively.

Senior Henry Adams averaged 23 yards on three kick returns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry on offense.

Trailing 28-0 before halftime and following a penalty that backed the Colonels to their own 8-yard line, OC put a drive together that went to the North 33-yard line. Ammon Harding's pass towards the endzone was intercepted by Yurt to end OC's best drive on the lone turnover for the Colonels on the night.

"Our offense really did come together even if it didn't look like it by the scoreboard," Adams said. "We put some things together and I was impressed and excited to see what we could do."

Harding completed 6-of-16 passes for 121 yards and was able to buy more time with an improved offensive line, which coach Mike Shatzer said did a nice job at times against the Mustangs' aggressive defense.

"We picked up some of their blitzes and did some good things but we just couldn't put it together," Shatzer said. "We only gave up a couple of sacks and we ran the ball well in spots so we just have to keep fighting."

After two punts and a missed field goal from North Oldham in the first quarter, the Mustangs made it 14-0 on a 3-yard score from David Clifford with 2:09 to play in the frame.

Wes Johnson found the end zone on a goal line score with 10:21 to play in the first half and Falkner found Yurt for an 18-yard touchdown pass with just over five minutes left in the half to make it 28-0 at the break.

Jackson Wine scored late in the third quarter on a 10-yard run and caught the two-point conversion pass from Falkner to start the running clock with a 36-0 lead.

Adam Barry made a 27-yard field goal to make it 39-0 before the two teams exchanged touchdowns on kick returns.

Following Reynolds' return that put the Colonels on the board, Yurt added his third touchdown of the night with his kick return for the 45-6 final score.

"He's special," Martin said. "Just athletic and an oustanding player. He's translated his track performances over to the football field and he's picked up everything really fast."

While North's offense continues to move the ball effectively, it's still not where Martin wants it to be, especially in the run department. The Mutangs averaged 4.8 yards a carry against OC and three players ran for more than 30 yards.

Johnson led with 53 yards on four carries and Jackson Fithian had 11 carries for 47 yards. Wine contributed 34 yards on five carries.

Martin is still looking for depth along the offensive line heading into the Mustangs' contest next Friday at Elizabethtown.

North was without junior offensive guard Justice Wonka, who left last week's game with a knee injury.

"If we throw for 170 (yards), we need to rush for about 200," Martin said. "It's more about missed assignments and missed blocks all over the place...We still need some depth. Getting these (junior varsity) guys ready in midseason will help, I hope. Some guys like (Colin) Portman, who had 120 tackles last year, he's playing almost every snap on offense. The guards are doing double-duty."

For Oldham County heading into a home contest against Shelby County, continuing to improve on offense and eliminating self-inflicting wounds is the key. The Colonels had eight penalties for 65 yards Friday night against North Oldham's five penalties for just 35 yards.

"They're continuing to fight," Shatzer said. "They know it's a battle and it's a process. They know anything while is going to be a struggle. We just have to get through it...Our backs are against the wall. We're 0-2 and we have to come out swinging."

 

North Oldham — 14 14 8 9 — 45

Oldham County — 0 0 0 6 — 6

 

First quarter

NO - 11:42 - Falkner 73-yard pass to Yurt (Barry kick)

NO - 2:09 - Clifford 3-yard run (Barry kick)

 

Second quarter

NO - 10:21 - Johnson 1-yard run (Barry kick)

NO - 5:38 - Falkner 18-yard pass to Yurt (Barry kick)

 

Third quarter

NO - 2:10 - Wine 10-yard run (Falkner pass to Wine)

 

Fourth quarter

NO - 8:16 - Barry 27-yard kick

OC - 6:10 - Stanley 80-yard kick return (Lanham PAT no good)

NO - 3:38 - Yurt 95-yard kick return (Barry PAT no good)