CLOVERDALE -- Friday under the lights at Cloverdale it was much of the same. Unfortunately for the Clovers that meant North Putnam completed it's third straight undefeated regular season and a starting quarterback went to the sideline injured in a 42-0 loss.
On the first play of the game, Cloverdale dipped into their bag of tricks and moved the ball 26 yards on wide receiver Nick Keefer's toss to Zak Osburn. It wouldn't be Keefer's last time as Cloverdale's signal caller on the night. The drive stalled after four plays.
"We came out and had a nice, what we call a 'crazy play' on the first play of the game, unfortunately they had two guys deep there, so we couldn't just turn and run with it," CHS head coach Kyle Winkler said. "Great coached teams are going to have kids in the right spot at the right time."
It didn't take long for North Putnam to get things going.
North came out and Scott Hunt connected with Kyle Adams for a 25-yard gain, then after a Hunt incompletion, they went to their workhorse. Griffen Dahlstrom took the Hunt handoff and broke loose for a 27-yard touchdown with 8:45 on the clock.
The woes continued to mount for the Clovers as quarterback Jordan Brinkman fumbled on their second possession. He would leave the field shortly after with an injury.
After the Brinkman fumble, Hunt called his own number and went through the Clover defense for a 25-yard score, making it 13-0 in favor of North Putnam. Dahlstrom added another score before the quarter ended and Cloverdale was staring at a 20-0 deficit after one period.
The story for Cloverdale on the night was that of Jekyll and Hyde. As soon as it looked as if they were getting in sync, they would make mistakes that killed their momentum.
This was never more apparent than at the start of the second quarter. The Cougars moved the ball down the field 50 yards and it looked like another score was inevitable. Hunt dropped back and aired the ball out, but it was Cloverdale defender Devin Looper that hauled in the ball in the end zone, bringing the sideline as well as the crowd alive.
On the Clovers' next play, Keefer dropped back, fired a pass toward the far sideline and the ball was caught by the Cougars' Shawn Diebold who returned the ball 22 yards for a touchdown, lifting North's lead to 26-0 at the 7:34 mark.
With the half coming to a close, North Putnam went to a no huddle offense and moved the ball with ease. The final play before the half was a screen pass that Hunt laid out to Dahlstrom, who scorched down the sideline for a 61-yard score. The teams went to the locker room with North Putnam leading 32-0.
Everything North touched turned to gold in the first half, a fact that head coach Greg Barrett alluded to after the contest.
"(The win) is very exciting," Barrett said. "I'm not too happy with some of the penalties there, but we responded. It was a good game. Everything we did seemed to be working tonight and that's what we need to be doing coming this late in the season. We start a new season now and we've got to hone up on what we're going and that's our goal and keep ourselves disciplined and play nasty football. That's what we've got to get at next week. Next week is going to be a tough challenge. These guys will be ready for it and we're looking forward to the tournament."
North opened the second half right were they left off and it was a usual suspect that did the damage.
After seven plays and 65 yards it was Dahlstrom strolling in from three yards out, giving the Cougars a 39-0 advantage. North added a Rob Ford field goal in the fourth quarter to bring the score to its final outcome.
Winkler acknowledged the Clovers' came out strong, but spoke after the game about how Cloverdale needs to cut down on their penalties and be in the right state of mind entering their contest with Monrovia next Friday.
North Putnam has experience an incredible amount of success over the past three seasons. Their record of 34-2 is a testament to the unity of the team and Barrett gave all the credit to the kids that make it happen on the field week in and week out.
"What a special group of guys," Barrett commented. "Those 20 seniors; I'm excited to just be part of it. It's nice to be able to come in here and keep things rolling like they've been doing that last couple of years. These guys make you look good at times. They get all the credit it all goes to these guys."
Barrett also spoke of the highly anticipated first round sectional battle with South Putnam after the contest. When asked what he thought fans could expect from next weeks game, he thought it could close to their first encounter.
"I think they're going to see another county rivalry game and if they saw the first one, they saw how competitive it was. I'm sure it's going to be the same and hopefully we'll have the same outcome, but coach Burgess does a great job with those guys and they're going to be ready for us," Barrett said.
Cloverdale will travel to Monrovia at 7 p.m., while North Putnam will host South Putnam at 7 p.m. Friday.
North Putnam 20 12 7 3 -- 42
Cloverdale 0 0 0 0 -- 0
NP -- Dahlstrom 27 yd. run 8:45
NP -- Hunt 25 yd. run (kick failed) 7:47
NP -- Dahlstrom 11 yd. run 3:34
NP -- Diebold 22 yd. Int. return 7:34
NP -- Hunt 61 yd. pass to Dahlstrom (kick failed)
NP -- Dahlstrom 3 yd. run 8:26
NP -- Ford 15 yd. field goal 10:17
North Putnam (9-0, 6-0 WCC)
Rushing -- (35 carries, 196 yards) -- Dahlstrom 8-61 3 TD, Diebold 3-39, Spencer 5-32, Hunt 5-22, Welch 4-20, Kratt 2-15, Everts 7-7
Passing -- (7-10-1-1, 151 yards) -- Hunt 7-10-1-1, 151 yards
Receiving -- (7 catches, 151 yards) -- Dahlstrom 3-87 TD, Spencer 2-27, Adams 1-25, Diebold 1-12
Cloverdale (2-7, 1-5 WCC)
Rushing -- (28 carries, 57 yards) -- Spinks 15-41, Osburn 7-10, Keefer 4-4, Tyler 1-2, Brinkman 1-0
Passing -- (2-3-0-1, 26 yards) -- Keefer 2-3-0-1, 26 yards
Receiving -- (2 catches, 26 yards) -- Osburn 1-26, 7-0