On their third play of the game, South Putnam's Grant Zimmerman connected with a streaking Rob Gibson for a 39-yard score, putting the Eagles in front 7-0 with 9:30 remaining.
Their defense forced the Cougars into another three-and-out, but the Cougars wouldn't be denied for long.
On their next drive, the Cougars used a big play up the middle to allow Travis Kratt to score from 26 yards out. The play that brought them up the field was a 23-yard pass from Kolton Everts to Aaron Vondersaar, which was met with protests from the South Putnam sideline.
The Eagles felt Vondersaar wasn't an eligible receiver and let the referees know. Their protest was ignored and on the next play the Cougars tied the game 7-all on Kratt's touchdown with 3:47 on the clock.
North Putnam scored again just before the half when Jordan Murphy scored with 1:20 on the clock to put the Cougars up 14-7.
South Putnam struggled with the speed of North Putnam all evening, and head coach Troy Burgess said that's something that's difficult to simulate.
"That football team is good," Burgess said. "We knew that and we knew they were fast. You can't gauge speed off of film. You can't prepare for speed in practice, and I thought we just couldn't get to their linebackers tonight. Those three linebackers are darn good football players. Man, they are good and they just gave us fits. They're well coached, they're disciplined, they fly around and we threw everything at them in the first half. I thought we played well and competed and played well with them the first half. I think we caught them being a little overaggressive on the long pass, but they settled down."
South Putnam received the second half kickoff and began to move the ball on one running play and two passing plays. After Brayden Freeman was stuffed at the line, Zimmerman attempted to go long, but the ball hung in the air and Caleb Vondersaar happily accepted the offering to give the Cougars possession.
On the next play, Everts found Hank Spencer on a little dump pass, but the powerful running back made his way down field and turned the short pass into a 47-yard touchdown, moving the Cougars in front 21-7.
North Putnam added another score on its next possession when Everts and Caleb Vondersaar hooked up for a 34-yard score. Following another Zimmerman interception, North Putnam scored its final touchdown of the night with 5:05 remaining in the third when Everts scored from 1 yard out on a quarterback sneak to move North Putnam in front 35-7 with the final score of the night.
North Putnam head coach Greg Barrett acknowledged the importance of his team's huge third quarter following the contest.
"I'm very happy about the third quarter," Barrett said. "We came out and were explosive and played hard. We corrected some problems at halftime, so I thought we did a good job of making adjustments. We saw some things we took advantage of. We knew they were trying to bring the safety up and stopping our outside sweep, but we're close.
"We're close to being awfully good I think. We just have to figure it out. And we will, we'll figure it out, we'll keep working hard and keep coaching them up. This is a great group of kids. They know how to respond and that's huge. We have some good leadership and I thought they responded extremely well in the second half," he said.
South Putnam spent much of its time on its own side of the field, and that's something Burgess noted was a key factor in Friday's outcome.
"The field position in the second half -- field position killed us," he said. "You can't turn the ball over and make mistakes down in our own territory like that. We just shot ourselves in the foot in the second half.
"Part of that is our inexperience and youth, poor coaching maybe on my part, poor play calling and it's a darn good football team that took advantage of it. You can make those mistakes sometimes and get away with them. You can't make mistakes against a team like that. They're going to make you pay and they did. They're a good team. Greg does a great job," Burgess said.
North Putnam has a bevy of running backs that continuously sub in and out and its something Barrett feels will benefit the team in the long run. He also praised the efforts of his starting quarterback.
"We missed a couple of shots in the air there early, which -- the first play of the game was open, we just didn't get the pass to him," Barrett commented. "I think if we would have scored there, I thought the tempo would have changed tremendously. It's nice to know we have four or five guys that can run the ball. We've got some guys that are banged up even, so we can switch guys in and out and get them rested and that's the deal. We want to stay healthy all year long, rotate as many backs in there as we can and I thought we did a good job of that.
"We know we can throw the ball. Kolton is a very good quarterback, he just needs to learn to settle down and make the reads every now and then. We're getting there. Once he gets explosive, the future will be bright I think," he added.
Something that was obvious on the night was South Putnam's seeming lack of urgency throughout the game. The squad would casually walk to the line and more than once, Burgess addressed the issue on the field. He also commented about it following the game.
"We try at times to go on some quick counts and do some things to try to get the tempo going and at times we tend to walk up, take our time -- well at that point there's no reason to go for the quick tempo," he said. "The sense of urgency is probably a pretty good word there. At times we just don't play with that. Again, maybe part of that is youth, I don't know.
"I promise you this, we're going to go back and take a hard look at this, because if we can figure out a way to be competitive and play with this football team, we can figure out a way to play with anybody on our schedule," Burgess said.
He also wants to see his squad put together 48 minutes of football, which is something he said they didn't do on Friday. He said they played 24 minutes of pretty good football and 24 minutes of pretty bad football. But he told his team after the game, to be an Eagle is all or nothing. You win together and you lose together
"Like I said to the kids, we're all in this thing together, man. We got outplayed in the second half, I got out-coached in the second half. We're all in this thing together and we got our tails beat by a good team and a good coaching staff," he said.
Respect was something on the mind of Barrett as well. He knows the game is about getting the win, but he acknowledged there's something special when the Cougars and Eagles get together.
"I respect those guys. I think Coach Burgess does an outstanding job with those guys. I really respect them. It's a good rivalry, kind of a friendly rivalry. All these kids know each other and I think they respect each other. They played a darn good first half," Barrett said.
South Putnam will travel to Greencastle Friday at 7 p.m., while the Cougars will take on Red Hill at Indiana State Saturday at 4 p.m.
At South Putnam
North Putnam 7 7 21 0 -- 35
South Putnam 7 0 0 0 -- 0
SP -- Zimmerman 39-yd. pass Gibson, Gould kick 9:30
NP -- Kratt 26-yd rush, Summerlot kick, 3:47
NP -- Murphy rush, Summerlot kick, 1:20
NP -- Everts 47-yd. pass to Spencer, Summerlot kick
NP -- Everts 34-yd. pass to C. Vondersaar, Summerlot kick, 6:35
NP -- Everts 1-yd. rush, Summerlot kick, 5:05
Rushing -- Franklin 9-56, Spencer 8-40, Kratt 7-42, Everts 2-4, Quates 2-4, St. Victor 1-0, Wishert 1-3
Passing -- Everts 7-10 155 yards, 2TD, Franklin 0-1
Receiving -- Spencer 2-54, A. Vondersaar 3-44, C. Vondersaar 1-34, Kratt 1-23
Rushing -- Freeman 15-12, Zimmerman 5-7, Gibson 1-3, Smith 1-1, Waters 3-0
Passing -- Zimmerman 6-13 66 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT.
Receiving -- Gibson 2-40, Varvel 3-22, Heller 1-6
Next game -- South Putnam will travel to Greencastle Friday at 7 p.m., while the Cougars will take on Red Hill at Indiana State Saturday at 4 p.m.