North grabs share of WCC crown

Saturday, October 11, 2008

ROACHDALE -- It was a night of great emotion at Cougar Stadium for the North Putnam football team. They clinched at least a share of the conference title, but lost a comrade in the process as they edged Speedway 35-32.

North Putnam's Kyle Adams hauls in a six-yard touchdown pass in Friday's battle with Speedway. The Cougars won 35-32 and clinces at least a share of the conference title.

Again the Cougar faithful were in almost a tournament type fervor throughout the night and kept as much pressure on the Sparkplugs as the team itself.

Early on it looked like North was going to make a run of it. The sideline was hyped; the coaches intense and a Speedway safety barely into the game made it look like it was going to be all Cougars on the night.

Looks can be deceiving.

After accepting the two-point gift from Speedway, North fumbled on their next possession and the Sparkplugs didn't waste any time capitalizing. Jaron Avance charged in from five yards out, giving Speedway the 6-2 lead. He scored again at the 2:01 mark, stretching the lead to 12-2.

Cougar head coach Greg Barrett was happy with his team's win after the game, but was disturbed by their turnovers. He also commended a player who gave the Cougars fits all night.

"It didn't help us to start out with that fumble, I'm not real pleased about that, but we bounced back offensively tonight and I'm pleased with the way we played, he said. "That (Kyle) Linville kid, he's a player now and we almost single handedly took it to us. He's a threat we just might see again."

North Putnam got on the board in the second quarter after a 20-yard spinning run from quarterback Scott Hunt set up a five yard Shawn Diebold touchdown. Diebold took the handoff and broke around the left side, leaping over teammate Griffen Dahlstrom to find the end zone.

The Cougars and Sparkplugs traded possession, then North got the break they needed. Speedway's Jonny West dropped back and fired a pass that Cougar defender Travis Franklin snagged, giving control back to North Putnam.

North began their march down the field with Dahlstrom grinding on the ground, but it was a great catch from Darr Boruff that kept the drive moving. Three plays later Hunt punched the ball in from one yard out, giving North a 16-12 lead.

The intensity of the game permeated from both sideline, with fans going wild. At times, it almost became deafening, but at the 1:25 mark you could hear a pin drop.

The Cougars on the sidelines raise their index fingers as a salute to injured teammate Shawn Diebold as he's being tended to on the field.

The Sparkplugs were driving down the field and during a 35-yard strike to Michael Hubbard it was clear something bad had happened in the secondary. The Cougars' Diebold lay face down on the field, motionless after colliding with another player. Both sidelines took a knee and the Cougars raised their index finger in tribute to their fallen players. After several minutes, Diebold was stabilized and wheeled to a waiting ambulance, holding his own finger high, acknowledging the cheering crowd.

Near the end of the game, good news came, as the coaching staff informed the players that Diebold was up and walking with no pain.

Speedway added another score before the half and took an 18-16 lead into the half.

North opened the second half with a 13-play drive that covered 61 yards, ending in a Kyle Adams six-yard touchdown reception. The Cougars led 23-18.

The Cougar defense came up big on Speedway's next possession. First Dahlstrom and Josh Keyt teamed up for a backfield tackle, then a diving Rob Ford intercepted a West offering and the Cougars began to march once again.

North kept it on the ground, with Dahlstrom carrying the load. Then came a moment that made the difference in the game. The Cougars faced a fourth-and-four from just inside the five-yard line. Instead of kicking the field goal, Barrett called on his main weapon. Hunt took the ball, scrambled in the pocket and connected with Dahlstrom in the back of the end zone to give North a 29-18 lead.

Dahlstrom added another touchdown at the 7:57 mark, giving North just enough of a cushion to withstand a Sparkplug charge at the end.

Speedway scored with 5:16 remaining, cutting the Cougar lead to 10. Then they recovered on of North Putnam's six fumbles and West found Linville from a 10-yard score, cutting the lead down to three. But the Cougars were too much and ran the clock out.

With the win, North Putnam can do no worse than a share of the West Central Conference title, something Barrett was obviously pleased with after the game.

"It's very excited," Barrett commented. "I haven't been part of a conference championship in about seven years and I'm very excited be part of that. It's a tribute to this group here in the seniors, it's their third one and that tells you what kind of kids we've got. I'm very excited about these guys and they deserve it."

With about a minute left in the game, the Cougar crowd came alive again. First you heard the bump-bump of a drum, followed by "one heart, one beat," the team's motto for the year. As the clock tickled away, the chant become louder and louder and exemplified what the season is all about for the Cougars -- one passion.

Griffen Dahlstrom

The passion for the Cougars threatened to overtake them at times during the game and Barrett acknowledged the team needs to harness that passion and put it to work for them in a positive way.

"We've got to understand that there's a certain level we get to with our emotions, and you hate to tell kids to back off, but in the long run it's going to kill us -- it almost bit us tonight," he commented. "They've got to understand when to calm down and get to the huddle and relax and pull things together as one heartbeat. Because there's only a few of those beats that are getting off pace and it's our (coaches) job to take care of the referees."

The Cougars will hit the road to battle county and WCC foe Cloverdale at 6 p.m. Friday.

At North Putnam

Speedway 12 6 0 14 -- 32

North Putnam 2 14 7 12 -- 35

First Quarter

NP -- Safety (Ball snapped through end zone)

SP -- Avance 2 yd. run (kick failed) 8:32

SP -- Avance 14 yd. run (conv. failed) 2:01

Second Quarter

NP -- Diebold 5 yd. run 11:40

NP -- Hunt 1 yd. run 2:10

SP -- Avance 5 yd. run (kick failed) 1:15

Third Quarter

NP -- Adams 6 yd. pass from Hunt 4:58

Fourth Quarter

NP -- Dahlstrom 4 yd. pass from Hunt 11:36

NP -- Dahlstrom 8 yd. pass from Hunt (kick failed) 7:57

SP -- Hubbard 3 yd. pass from West 5:16

SP -- Linville 9 yd. pass from West

Individual Statistics

Speedway (6-2, 5-1 WCC)

Rushing -- (21 carries, 131 yards) -- Linville 5-71, Hubbard 6-26, Avance 10-34

Passing -- (10-21-2-2) -- West 10-21-2-2, 165 yards, Linville 0-1-0-0

Receiving -- (12 catches, 165 yards) -- Linville 3-81, Law 1-8, Hubbard 5-61, Avance 1-15

North Putanm (8-0, 5-0 WCC)

Rushing -- (36 carries, 174 yards) Dahlstrom 28-148, Diebold 3-13, Boruff 5-13

Passing -- (7-13-2-0) -- 7-13-2-0, 75 yards

Receiving -- (8 catches, 75 yards) -- Dahlstrom 3-23, Boruff 4-46, Adams 1-6

Next game -- The Cougars will hit the road to battle county and WCC foe Cloverdale at 6 p.m. Friday.

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  • dang, i sit home one night and miss the best game in the state last night. good job north.

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Sat, Oct 11, 2008, at 7:52 AM
  • anyone know if Dahlstrom has made a college choice yet? or maybe intent?

    -- Posted by iloveblacks on Sat, Oct 11, 2008, at 12:41 PM
  • What are there records?

    -- Posted by HelloMcFly on Sat, Oct 11, 2008, at 2:42 PM
  • well north putnam is undefeated. dahlstrom, i dont think has committed anywhere formally. think his brother is at depauw playing.

    -- Posted by badboy46120 on Sun, Oct 12, 2008, at 7:54 AM
  • Go COUGARS....The boys are having a great season. Sure do miss seeing the boys from last year out there. Numbers 9, 20, 26, 31. Hope they continue on with this winning streak in the years to come. I hear they have great talent waiting to step in and fill the cleats of boys who have graduated and those to graduate.

    -- Posted by northcounty08 on Mon, Oct 13, 2008, at 12:59 PM
  • The records are in the agate at the bottom of the story.

    -- Posted by RaisingCaine on Mon, Oct 13, 2008, at 4:30 PM
  • McFly,

    The proper use of the word "there" is in a context such as "over there." I believe you are searching for the possessive pronoun "their."

    Additionally please read to the bottom of the story before commenting on missing items.

    Thank you.

    -- Posted by Sour Grapes on Mon, Oct 13, 2008, at 4:45 PM
  • all of this talent they currently have, and the talent that has graduated recently is a result of gym work since these boys were in middle school. plus it's amazing how many of these brothers are coming thru these past few yearrs. the dahlstrom boys have been amazing to watch a read about. hopefully they have a few more dahlstrom boys comin around the corner. these boys play in their backyards growing up and that's a coaches dream. so if you have kids in middle school or about to, get them in the gym. teenagers build muscle so easily because of all the testosterone their bodies are puttin out.

    -- Posted by iloveblacks on Mon, Oct 13, 2008, at 7:55 PM
  • I am glad I decided to go to this game, I figured this would be the best game to attend in the State, and I wasn't disappointed at all!

    This was a game filled with a lot of hard hits and good play from both sides of the ball and I hope these two teams meet again in Sectional play, this really could be a battle of titans again.

    I would like to comment on one aspect of the game that I found disturbing... "the ref's", by not calling the HOLDS / Blocks in the back I witnessed at this game. I have been to many HS. Games of all levels of play and I have to say, this game is one of the worst I have seen in the "Ref's" not calling these or other obvious calls on both sides of the ball.

    Some advice for the "Cougars", I feel your team could go along way, but they must work on one thing, the types of HOLD's I was seeing they will not be able to get by with later on in Sectional or future Tournament Rounds. The HOLDS I saw were a taught/technique and could cost your team and possibly early elimination from Tournament play.

    Good Luck in future play...(Just being Honest)

    -- Posted by masterchief82 on Tue, Oct 14, 2008, at 10:13 AM
  • Oh by the way folks, an example of a "block in the back" was captured by your own newspaper.


    -- Posted by masterchief82 on Tue, Oct 14, 2008, at 11:01 AM
  • I agree..Let's be thankful for the brothers that have passed through Dahlstroms, Debo's and the great "V's" Way to go let's get down to business for the playoffs. A state ring would look just great on those hands!!

    -- Posted by horsepower on Tue, Oct 14, 2008, at 12:45 PM
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