ROACHDALE -- Good thing for North Putnam there are two halfs to a high school football game.
After a dismal first half plagued by turnovers Friday night, North Putnam pulled it together in the second half for a 20-0 win over Cloverdale to end the regular season.
The Cougars turned the ball over four times in the first half. The first time was three plays into the game when Donavan Scisney picked off a Kolten Everts pass. The other three turnovers were fumbles. One fumble was on the Cougars' second possession of the night. The other two were when Darr Boruff fumbled the ball on the Clovers five-yard line and when Everts fumbled on the one-yard line on the quarterback keeper.
"You can't have five turnovers. We went back down to week one, two and three mistakes," NPHS Coach Gregg Barrett said.
Whatever coach Barrett said to his team at the half worked, because the Cougars came out a totally different team.
After forcing the Clovers to go four-and-out, North Putnam marched the ball 64 yards for a touchdown thanks to a one-yard run by Hank Spencer.
But the play that really changed the game for North Putnam was when its defense forced Clover QB Jordan Hayden to fumble the ball in the backfield, allowing Travis Kratt to scoop up the ball and run it back for a 30-yard touchdown, putting the Cougars up 13-0.
"That second score of theirs was a textbook scoop and go," CHS coach Kyle Winkler said about North Putnam's fumble recovery. "We fumbled it in the backfield on a bad exchange."
North Putnam's last score came late in the fourth quarter when Nate Bryan picked off Jordan Brickman's pass, setting up the Cougars for a 48-yard TD drive that was capped off by Darr Boruff's two-yard touchdown run.
"We did win the game, but I don't think we played well," Barrett said. "Take away the five turnovers and I thought we played a good game.
"Defensively we did a good job of attacking, and that has kind of been the mainstay of this team this year and hopefully we can keep it going," Barrett added. "We just need to get better offensively."
The Cougars' defense held the Clovers to only 48 yards on offense while holding the Clovers lead rusher, Dillin Gray, to only 35 yards on 11 carries. Its secondary picked off three Clover passes while only allowing one completion for 12 yards.
Offensively, the Cougars put up 336 total yards with Spencer leading the offense with 150 yards on 26 carries. North Putnam cut its turnovers down from four to one in the second half as well.
Even though his team took a loss, Winkler wasn't all that displeased with his team's performance.
"If we get a guy here and there, playing full speed we are able to do some things. It was a hard fought loss for our kids. We fought with them tooth and nail and we never let down and that is what I was keying for -- no letdowns.
"We kept them to a nothing to nothing first half and that was far from what anyone thought the score would be for this game," Winkler added.
North Putnam is back in action Friday when it travels to Cascade for the first round of the sectional starting at 7 p.m. Cloverdale hosts Monrovia in its first round game at 7 p.m.
At North Putnam
North Putnam 0 0 13 7 -- 20
Cloverdale 0 0 0 0 -- 0
NP -- Spencer 1 yd run 4:26 (Logan Kick)
NP -- Kratt 30 yd fumble recovery 4:05 (Kick Missed)
NP -- Boruff 2 yd run 3:05 (Logan Kick)
Rushing -- Diebold 3-2, Spencer 26-150-1, Boruff 6-18-1, Jones 3-30, Everts 10-23
Passing -- Everts 6-14-52-0-1, Jones 0-1-0-0
Receiving -- Boruff 3-20, Adams 3-32
Rushing -- Gray 11-35, Couse 5-15, Lockwood 4-(-11), Hayden 2-(-3)
Passing -- Hayden 1-4-10-0-2, Brinkman 0-5-0-0-1
Receiving -- Brinkman 1-12
Next Game -- North Putnam is back in action Friday when it travels to Cascade for the first round of the sectional starting at 7 p.m. Cloverdale hosts Monrovia in its first round game at 7 p.m.