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North runs by Spencer

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By Mickey Patterson

North runs by Spencer

by Mickey Patterson

GOSHEN – Spencer County came to North Oldham Friday with the state’s leading rusher and one of the most potent rushing offenses in the state only to see the Mustangs give them a lesson in ball control in a 35-24 district win.“Spencer was averaging right at 400 or so yards a game on the ground coming into tonight and we held them to just over 200 yards, so I was really pleased with our defense,” NOHS coach Billy Martin said. “At the same time, we gained nearly 300 yards on the ground and had great balance which is why I think we won the game.”Spencer entered the game with the state’s leading rusher, Chris Riggs. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Riggs already had 1,178 yards and 12 touchdowns in five games this season. He gained 92-yards on 15 carries with a touchdown Friday.NOHS countered with its balance, gaining 261 yards on the ground. Junior Andrew Tuller led the way with 125 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Chris Dudley went for 75 yards on 14 carries with two scores and Ryan Gallas had 69 yards on 11 carrries with a score.Spencer took the early lead on the second play from scrimmage when Chris Taylor, who entered the game with more than 600 yards rushing, broke off right tackle for a 54-yard scoring run.The Bears led 6-0 after botching the PAT.NOHS answered on the next series, going 60 yards on six plays. Tuller returned the big play favor, taking a pitch around left end 46 yards for a score. Paul Althoff’s kick put the Mustangs up for good at 7-6 with 9:21 left in the first quarter.NOHS made it 14-6 on its next possession. Starting from the 43, Dudley ripped off a seven-yard gain up the middle. Tuller and Dudley kept the chains moving before quarterback Dylan Grandon hit Tuller over the middle for 15 yards to the Spencer 11.Two plays later, Dudley went off right tackle for a six-yard touchdown run.The Mustangs increased the lead to 21-6 on the opening possession of the second quarter.After forcing a Spencer punt, NOHS took over on the Bears’ 41. Dudley, Gallas and Tuller all got carries with Tuller capping things with a 16-yard touchdown sweep around left end.Spencer cut the lead behind the power running of Riggs on its next possession. Riggs carried the ball five times for 46 yards on a 10-play 65-yard scoring drive and capped the drive with a 21-yard scoring run around left end.After the Mustangs stopped a conversion pass, they led 21-12 with 4:39 left in the half.NOHS kept the fireworks going on the next possession when Tuller returned the kickoff 53 yards to the Spencer 37.Gallas opened the drive with a 13-yard burst up the middle followed by six more yards from Grandon on a scramble around right end.A six-yard gain from Tuller was followed by a 12-yard dive off tackle by Dudley to the Spencer three.Dudley took it over two plays later for a 28-12 lead with 47 seconds left in the half.Spencer came right back with a big return of its own when Riggs took the kickoff 38-yards to the NOHS 42.NOHS sacked Spencer quarterback Camron Smith for a 12-yard loss on the first play before Smith hit Taylor with a pass over the middle good for 23-yards.Smith found Aaron Ashley for 12 yards in the right flat on the next play before hitting Taylor with a swing pass to the right for a 15-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 28-18 with no time left on the clock.The Mustangs’ final score came late in the fourth quarter thanks in large part to the hard running of Gallas. The senior fullback softened the gut of the Spencer middle defenders before capping a 50-yard scoring drive with a six-yard touchdown run up the middle.Spencer scored on its final possession after Taylor returned the kickoff 54 yards to the Mustangs’ 26. Three runs by Riggs put the ball on the six before Smith hit Brett Tate with a six-yard scoring pass for the final margin.The win raises the Mustangs to 4-2 on the year giving them a school record for most wins in a season and a shot at second place in the district with one district game left at Western Hills in two weeks.“It’s a huge win for us from that standpoint,” Martin said. “We let one get away last week losing to Henry County but we bounced back tonight with a big win.”

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