LINDEN — A tale of two halves would be the way to describe North Putnam’s come-from-behind win over North Montgomery in the opener for both teams Friday night.
The Chargers appeared to have everything going their way leading 20-0 with less than a minute to play in the first half before the Cougars mustered more than half of its first half offense on the final drive of the half and scored with just 25 seconds to play before the break to cut the lead to 20-7.
Little did anyone know how important that late score was going to prove to be.
MOMENTUM WAS KEY
“We let the momentum get away from us,” North Montgomery coach Josh Thompson said after the game. “We have to learn to finish things. We didn’t finish tonight.”
Four times in the second half the Chargers had the ball on or inside the Cougars 35 and came away with no points. The first drive of the fourth quarter saw the Chargers have the ball first-and-goal from the 8 and turned it over on downs. Then on the final drive of the game the Chargers had the ball on the seven with a first-and-goal and threw the game ending interception.
“If we punch the ball in one those occasions, especially in the third quarter this game might have been over,” Thompson said. “We didn’t and they made us pay.”
North Putnam coach Sam Carnes said he did have a big halftime speech.
“We talked about what we always talk about,” he said. “This team is built on love and respect for each other and that no matter what we can get the job done so being down 0-20 was not a big deal. We told them to just keep believing in themselves and each other and it would be alright.”
Leading the charge was senior quarterback Maverick Summers who made his first start of his career. The senior led by example and completed 21-of-28 passes for 254 yards and three scores.
Two of his scores went to senior speedster Kalib Lawrence, who was part of a state-qualifying 4 x100 relay team last spring. The first went 19 yards and the go-ahead score came with 5:08 to play in the game one play after the Cougars intercepted North Montgomery’s Jaron Bradford for the second time.
ALMOST A MIRACLE
The Chargers nearly made a remarkable comeback on the final drive as they took over the ball on its own 37. A couple of pass completions from Bradford to Kade Kobel (including a 15-yard late hit penalty) took the ball to the North Putnam 19. An incomplete pass and then a couple of Bradford runs had the ball at the NP 7 with time running out and no timeouts.
On the final play of the game for the Chargers, Bradford looked into the end zone but Summers picked of the pass to secure the victory for the visitors.
North Montgomery will battle Hamilton Heights next week, while North Putnam will entertain Southmont in its home opener.
North Putnam 21, North Montgomery 20
North Putnam 0 7 7 7 - 21
North Montgomery 6 14 0 0 - 20
NM – Kai warren 31 pass from Jaron Bradford (run failed), 10:13
NM – Zach Waldon 19 pass pass from Bradford (pass failed), 5:37
NM – Waldon 7 run (Keifer Carmean pass from Bradford), 2:43
NP – Scott Proctor 19 pass from Maverick Summers (Brayden Polley kick), :25
NP – Kalib Lawrence 16 pass from Summers (Grant Jarboe kick), 2:58
NP – Lawrence 62 pass from Summers (Polley kick), 5:09
First Downs 15 16
Rushes-Yards 32-45 35-124
Comp-Att-INT 21-28-0 13-19-3
Passing Yards 261 181
Total Yards 306 305
Pen-Yards 8-85 3-35
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Punt-Ave 4-28.7 2-34.0
North Putnam – Summers 5-9, Baker 22-55, Proctor 1-(-1), Team 1-(-14), Lawrence 3-(-4); North Montgomery – Waldon 18-61, Bradford 13-53, Warren 1-0, Koble 203, Braun 1-7.
North Putnam – Summers 21-28-0 261; North Montgomery – Bradford 13-19-3 181
North Putnam – Warren 1-(1), Alexander 6-48, Proctor 5-88, Lawrence 5-103, Clifford 1-4, Duncan 1-6, Barger 1-7, Baker 1-5; North Montgomery – Warren 5-88, Wallace 3-28, Waldon 1-6, Koble 2-25, Carmean 1-15, Scrimager 1-14.