CLAYTON-- Winning is habit forming in sports, unfortunately, so is losing.
Outscored 83-8 in the past two games, the Cascade Cadets hoped its luck would change against North Putnam Friday night. Three seasons in a row the Cougars have bested the Cadets and the last two were by a combined score of 97-14.
Despite several turnovers throughout the game, North Putnam overcame the adversity and pulled out a 21-7 victory over a seemingly improved Cascade team.
"We are fortunate they did not respond on our turnovers," North Putnam coach Greg Barrett said. "We have a lot to work on and we are not going to change what we are doing. We just need to focus and get better."
North Putnam (2-1) tallied three turnovers in the first quarter, compared to the Cadet's one, but Cascade could not take advantage.
The Cougars lost one on the opening kickoff as Kyle Adams coughed up the ball after being hit. Running back Hank Spencer then put the ball on the ground on North Putnam's first play from scrimmage.
Cascade (0-3) returned the favor three plays later as freshman quarterback Colin Smith threw a lateral to Alex Arthur that was mishandled.
Cougar Aaron Vondersaar's recovery led to an 11-yard touchdown by teammate Shawn Diebold and after a failed extra point, North Putnam led 6-0.
North Putnam stopped a fake punt attempt on fourth down by Cascade, but a high snap on the Cougars ensuing play was picked up from between the legs of North Putnam quarterback Kolten Everts by Cadet Cody Blackburn.
Arthur muffed a punt and a kick off in the second quarter and North Putnam recovered both. Those two extra possessions allowed the Cougars to score twice and break the game open.
Cougar Darr Boruff scored from 1-yard out for a 12-0 lead on a 43-yard drive. North Putnam went for the two-point conversion and Everts' pass hit the outstretched hands of one receiver before falling to Boruff for a 14-0 lead.
Everts then scored in two plays after the muffed kickoff and the Cougars took a 21-0 lead into the half.
"Anytime you have those types of miscues, it definitely put you in a bad position," Cadet coach Josh Hagenow said. "When your defense is out there with a short field, it is tough to stop."
Cascade forced the Cougars to punt on the opening possession of the second half and got the ball needing 95-yards for a touchdown. Smith answered with the longest run of the night from either side, an 89-yard scamper around the left side. That set up Justin Helmick to score from 1-yard out two plays later and the Cadets pulled within two scores.
Cascade could not do anything with another Cougar turnover on its next drive and was forced to punt. It was the first of seven attempts that the Cadets actually punted, having gone for it six times previously.
"There is always questioning with those decisions," Hagenow said. "We were trying to make some plays and keep our offense out there. We took some gambles and I felt we were playing good defense."
North Putnam relied on the pass throughout the second half throwing it 18 times versus eight rushing attempts.
"They had their two safeties back and weren't honoring our quick hitches," Barrett said. "We just kept going at it and there was a time we got away from it and shouldn't have. We are not really known as a passing team, but we will try to take advantage of those things."
Cascade takes on Class 2A No.1 ranked Heritage Christian at home next week while North Putnam hosts South Putnam.
Cascade 0 0 7 0 -- 7
N. Putnam 6 15 0 0 -- 21
Passing -- CA-Smith 1-5-21 yds, 1 INT. NP-Everts 13-28-121 yds.
Rushing -- CA- Al. Arthur 15-35 yds; Helmick 21-58 yds, 1 TD; Smith 17-99 yds; Dunn 4-(-4) yds. NP-Everts 7-(-5) yds, 1TD; Spencer 8-58 yds; Diebold 3-25 yds, 1TD; Boruff 5-14 yds, 1 TD.
Receiving -- CA- An. Arthur 1-21 yds. NP-Boruff 1-3 yds; Vondersaar 1-19 yds; Adams 2-15 yds; Diebold 5-36 yds; Franklin 4-48 yds.