ROACHDALE -- Whenever two county schools meet on the field, it's always big deal. Now factor in a homecoming and the hysteria reaches a fever pitch. School spirit flows out of the stands and shakes the field. That's just taste of what the evening was like at North Putnam Friday night.
"(It was) a nice homecoming crowd and we have great support from our fans," North Putnam head coach Greg Barrett said following the contest.
The start of the game has been an issue for the Cougars so far this season, but on Friday they came to play and gave their coach exactly what he was hoping for. He asked them to focus and become more consistent with their play and they responded.
"These kids are working hard and we're working on being consistent. Our first half hasn't been as consistent as we'd like it to be and tonight we did some good things," Barrett commented.
Consistency has also been an issue for the Tiger Cubs and it was apparent on their first possession of the game.
Greencastle opened the game with a big play from Ashton Marshall. Marshall took an option pitch from quarterback Jordan Hickam and galloped 33 yards, putting the Tiger Cubs in good position. After two Hickam rushes for losses, the GHS quarterback was sacked by Cougar defender Seth Vondersaar, ending Greencastle's first possession.
North didn't fare much better on their first possession, going three and out, but the second time they touched the ball was a different story.
The Cougars second play of the drive saw Shawn Diebold race down the field 68 yards for an apparent touchdown, but a simple finger in the air brought the play back. As Diebold approached the end zone he raised his index finger and was cited for unsportsmanlike conduct, nullifying the score. Four plays later he found the end zone again and this time the score stood, making it 7-0 for North Putnam at the 3:32 mark.
The Cougars added another score before the half when quarterback Scott Hunt called his own number and took the ball in from one yard out. Their second score came when senior fullback Griffen Dahlstrom broke through the line and out-sprinted the Greencastle defense for a 60-yard score, giving North a 21-0 lead going into the half.
Despite their struggles on offense, Greencastle's defense made North work for every yard they gained. Bodies were flying and helmets clashed as Greencastle attacked the Cougars, but North Putnam's running game was just simply too much to overcome.
In an almost replay of his previous score, Dahlstrom tore down the field for a 47-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and then added a 12-yard score around the left side of the line in the fourth to cap the scoring on the night and delivering the Cougars a 35-0 victory.
It was a difficult game for Greencastle on both sides of the ball. Marshall got banged up, their rushing game never got established and their defense allowed 361 rushing yards on the night. After the contest their head coach had little to say.
Meyer noted that North Putnam's edge is being strong on both sides of the ball. If one doesn't get you, the other probably will. He also thought that this was the Cougars' strongest outing of the season thus far.
Barrett saw the Greencastle effort from a different standpoint. He acknowledged how hard the Tiger Cubs played and thought they showed some nice things.
"Greencastle's a good club," Barrett said. "They've got big kids, they've got fast kids and they came at us tough. There was some hard hitting going on out there. I really respect their coaches and I'm excited about getting out of here with a victory."
In addition to Dahlstrom and Diebold, Hunt gave the Cougars a boost on the ground as well as in the air. He rushed for 41 yards and passed for 36 yards on the night, ironically with all his completions going to Dahlstrom and Diebold. Barrett acknowledged their efforts after the game and point to a couple drops that cost the Cougars some points.
"Shawn (Diebold) has been running the ball extremely well," Barrett said. "Scott Hunt ran the ball well tonight and threw the ball we tonight; we just dropped some passes in the end zone. We'll get better at those things.
"We always talk about being together, sticking as one heartbeat and we were clicking tonight at times," Barrett commented.
North Putnam will travel to Monrovia at 7 p.m. Friday, while Greencastle will travel to Cloverdale at 7 p.m. Friday.
At North Putnam
Greencastle 0 0 0 0 -- 0
North Putnam 7 14 7 7 -- 35
NP -- Diebold 9 run (Dahlstrom kick) 3:32 (7-0)
NP -- Hunt 1 run (Dahlstrom kick) 10:38 (14-0)
NP -- Dahlstrom 60 run (Ford kick) (21-0)
NP -- Dahlstrom 47 run (Ford kick) 6:35 (28-0)
NP -- Dahlstrom 12 run (Ford kick) 9:35 (35-0)
Greencastle (2-4, 2-2 WCC)
Rushing -- (37 carries, 46 yards) -- Marshall 7-37, Ford 4-6, Richardson 3-2, Hickam 19-1, Pettit 4-0
Passing -- (0-4-0-0, 0 yards) -- Hickam 0-4-0-0 0 yards
North Putnam -- (36 carries, 361 yards) -- Dahlstrom 18-196 3TD, Diebold 7-91 TD, Hunt 5-41 TD, Spencer 5-20, Franklin 1-13
Passing -- (3-6-0-0, 36 yards) -- Hunt 3-6-0-0, 36 yards
Receiving -- (3 catches, 36 yards) -- Dahlstrom 2-29, C. Vondersaar 1-7
Next game -- North Putnam will travel to Monrovia at 7 p.m. Friday, while Greencastle will travel to Cloverdale at 7 p.m. Friday.