ROACHDALE – North Montgomery got the football season off on the right foot with a 36-7 win over North Putnam.
The Chargers forced, and took advantage of, seven Cougars turnovers.
“We got off to a slow start, but we weathered the game a bit better than North Putnam did,” Chargers coach Josh Thompson said. “The kids played hard from the first snap, and while there are always things to work on for next week, we had a lot of positives tonight.”
After a first quarter highlighted by nine penalties, things got back into more football mode in the second quarter.
After recovering a fumble, Austin Sulc scored from 15 yards out to get North on the board.
After turning the Cougars over on downs, quarterback Ross Dyson completed a 29-yard pitch and run to William Ramsey.
It was 14-0 North at intermission.
Overall, the visitors had three of those seven takeaways in that second quarter, as Mikale Willis and Gage Galloway each had picks, and there was a fumble recovered.
In the third, there were three more takeaways, with two loose balls picked up along with a Jayden Thompson pick.
Actually, the end of the third quarter saw four consecutive turnovers by the two teams, but the Chargers scored after one on a Sulc seven-yard run, while the Cougars were not able to convert either takeaway.
In the fourth, North took the ball away for the seventh time on a Jarrod Kirsch pick.
The takeaways and the defensive stops allowed the Chargers offense to start eight of their 15 drives in Cougars territory.
“We did a lot of things right tonight,” first-year Cougars coach Scott Moore said, “but we weren’t able to get any finishes. I’m hurting for the players. We battled and we saw a lot of signs of what we can become, but there is still a lot of work to do. The best part is that the guys never quit. We moved the ball well at times, and got some stops, but it wasn’t enough.”
Dyson was effective throwing the ball, as the junior was 5-of-11 for 152 yards and two touchdowns, the first to Ramsey and the second in the third quarter to Lucas Lighty for 59 yards. Four of his five completions were 29 yards or more.
Sulc hauled the ball 15 times, and the picked up exactly 100 yards. He had a second score, from seven yards out, in the third quarter.
Galloway had 29 yards on the ground and a TD on six carries, while Jack Warren and Drew Norman had fourth quarter carries. Every guy that ran the ball ran hard,” Thompson said, “and I mean the guys who caught the ball as well as the running backs.”
Overall, North ran the ball for 166 yards and held the Cougars to 72 yards on the ground.
Noah Claycomb led NP with yards on 19 carries. He scored the Cougars TD on their last play of the game.
The Chargers defense did register tackles for loss on 11 running plays and two more passing plays.
Freshman quarterback Christian Kramer was 20-of-34 passing for 230 yards and the four picks.
“The first string gets credit for a shutout,” Thompson said. “We had a lot of guys who were inexperienced coming in that played very well. It’s always good to get a win on opening night. There are things to work on, like getting off to a better start, and some execution work, but I really like the way we improved in the second half. We responded to the challenge we gave the guys. Proud of them, and now we go to getting better for next week.”
The Cougars travel to play Southmont next Friday. The Mounties won big over Fountain Central.
The Chargers are at home against Hamiliton Heights.
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