North Putnam suffered a stunning defeat Friday, falling 21-20 to North Montgomery in the IHSAA Sectional 29 opening round on the Chargers' field.
The Cougars put together a gutsy 65-yard drive in the fourth quarter for a touchdown and needed only a point-after kick by Griffen Dahlstrom to tie the game with 5:56 remaining.
Dahlstrom had converted two previous PATs, but his third never had a chance. The center of North Montgomery's defense line surged through and blocked the kick.
North Putnam never had possession of the ball again. The Chargers (2-8), who had lost six straight games, ran the clock out with four first downs. The Cougars ended their season 5-5.
"Our guys played their tails off," North Putnam coach Dave Pasch said. "I've never had a team play harder to overcome things. We had opportunities to make plays (and didn't). My hat's off to North Montgomery's players. They did a great job of making us drive the football and two of their scores were from the short field."
North Putnam was penalized 11 times for 100 yards and North Montgomery seven times for 70.
North Montgomery drove 65 yards on 11 plays on its opening possession to take a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Chargers recovered a fumble on the North Putnam 29-yard line.
The Cougars had North Montgomery bottled up at third-and-13 from the 20.
But quarterback Jake German connected with 6-foot-4 wide receiver Nathan Evans for a touchdown and Lucas Galloway's kick boosted the Chargers to a 14-0 lead. North Putnam rebounded with two touchdowns in the second quarter to tie the game.
After Matt Biggs recovered a North Montgomery fumble, the Cougars scored in two plays. Adam Vandersaar broke away for a 48-yard run to the one-yard line and Brayden Dahlstrom plunged over the goal on the next play.
North Putnam stopped the Chargers on three downs and Shane Diebold's 17-yard punt return positioned the Cougars at the North Montgomery 41.
The Cougars went down the field in seven plays. Brayden Dahlstrom hit a wide-open Diebold, running down the right sideline, for a 13-yard scoring pass on third-and-goal. Dahlstrom also had a 15-yard completion to Tyler Trent on the drive.
North Putnam had a prime chance to take the lead before the half ended. Brayden Dahlstrom, running the option, streaked 22 yards to the North Montgomery 29.
On second down, Dahlstrom and Riley McGaughey connected for a 10-yard gain to the 14. But three plays netted only four yards and, on fourth down,
Griffen Dahlstrom tried a 27-yard field goal. It was long enough, but wide to the right. North Montgomery regained the lead in the third quarter with a 48-yard, 9-play drive capped off by Taylor McGaughey's 10-yard touchdown pass from German with 2:05 left. Galloway added the kick.
The Cougars took over on downs, following a sack of German by Jake Stigall on fourth down, on their 35 with 9:52 remaining.
After a defensive holding penalty moved North Putnam forward 10 yards, Brayden Dahlstrom ran 16. Next came an exchange of penalties, holding against the Cougars, followed by pass interference against the Chargers. North Putnam had a first down at the Chargers' 39.
Brayden Dahlstrom ran for 2 and 9 yards for a first down and completed a 9-yard pass to McGaughey. Vondersaar ran 1 yard for the first down as the Cougars reached the 18.
After North Putnam was called for holding, Trent rushed for eight yards. Then, a 5-yard penalty for an illegal formation. On third-and-17, Trent made a finger-tip, over-the-shoulder catch of a perfect lob from Dahlstrom for the touchdown with 5:56 remaining. Only the PAT remained to tie the game and it was blocked.
North Putnam 0 14 0 6--20
North Montgomery 14 0 7 0--21
North Montgomery--Lough 7 run (Galloway kick), 3:18
North Montgomery--Cole 13 pass from German (Galloway kick), :03
North Putnam--B. Dahlstrom 1 run (G. Dahlstrom kick), 10:15
North Putnam--Diebold 13 pass from B. Dahlstrom (G. Dahlstrom kick), 6:17
North Montgomery--McGaughey 10 pas from German (Galloway kick), 2:05
North Putnam--Trent 25 pass from B. Dahlstrom (kick blocked), 5:56