"It's good any time you can get a win. We just have a lot of improving to do," North Putnam head coach Brian Crabtree said.
The Cougars quickly turned around their first possession miscue and proceeded to put 28 points on the scoreboard. North Putnam fumbled on the first offensive play of the game, giving the Eagles some prime real estate just 14 yards from the end zone. But as would be the story all evening, South Putnam was unable to capitalize, moving a yard in four plays before attempting a long field goal. The field goal was short and that's when the Cougars went to work.
North Putnam scored on its next four possessions, with Hank Spencer picking up the first Cougars score when he ran in from 31 yards out. Next Kolten Everts hooked up with Tyler Shorter for a 53 yard scoring strike, putting North Putnam up 14-0 with 6:50 remaining in the first quarter.
South Putnam didn't waste any time responding as Seth Hammond hit Rob Gibson down the middle. Gibson outraced the Cougars defense to the goal line for what would be the Eagles first and only touchdown of the night. North Putnam lead 14-6 at that point, but still had some fire in its belly.
Shorts zigzagged through the South Putnam defense to score at the 5:35 mark and then after one series without a score, Everts dialed up Jake Smerage's number for a 22-yard touchdown, putting North Putnam up 28-6 after one quarter of play. North Putnam added another score before the end of the half to go to the locker room up 35-6 and clearly in the driver's seat.
After a quick South Putnam three and out, North Putnam marched down the field for a score on its opening drive of the second half. Spencer bulldozed his way behind his offensive line and over a few Eagle defenders to score from six yards out. As the team left the field, the offensive line was greeted by fist bumps from Crabtree.
North Putnam's defense got into the scoring act when Shorter tracked down a Hammond pass and tore up some turf, racing 80 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cougars its final score of the night and moving the score to its final tally of 48-6 in favor of North Putnam.
Everts had a big night for the Cougars, throwing for 206 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-13 passing. Spencer also had a big outing, rushing 13 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
South Putnam head coach Troy Burgess laid the blame at his own feet for the loss Friday, but thought his team is capable of some better play as the season continues.
"I have a great group of young men, I'm proud of them. We didn't play as well as I think we're capable of playing," he said. "Obviously my hats off to North Put. That is a darn good football team. Coach Crabtree has done a wonderful job preparing them."
Despite the convincing win, Crabtree said his team must get its penalties under control if they have ideas of making a deep post-season run.
"We have to cut down our penalty yards because I think we had 120 yard, I believe, in the first half and that will flat out get you beat. If we're serious about a long postseason run, that's got to clean up right now. That's not the kind of football I'm interested in and not the kind of football we need to play," Crabtree said.
Crabtree also said he knows that if the Cougars draw South Putnam come sectional time, it's going to be in his words "a dogfight".
Looking back on the game, Burgess said a big difference in the game was North Putnam's ability to make stops when it counted.
"We made some plays and did some things well, but again to their credit, when they needed to make a stop, they did," Burgess said. "They stepped up and made the stop and they've got some big time players. I still think we're a good football team. People will look at that scoreboard and they'll go 'you're nuts coach', but I still think we're a good football team.
"I think we have a great group of young men -- a first class group of young men. We didn't have any late hits, any personal fouls, any jaw talking -- we had none of that. We just came out on the short end tonight -- we just got beat tonight," he added.
North Putnam will travel to Danville Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff. South Putnam will be back in action Saturday when they face Greencastle at ISU at 4 p.m. Saturday.
At North Putnam
South Putnam -- 6 0 0 0 -- 6
North Putnam -- 28 7 13 0 -- 48
NP -- Spencer 31 yard run, kick good 9:00
NP -- Everts 53 yard pass to Shorter, kick good 6:50
SP -- Hammond 65 yard pass to Gibson, kick failed 6:37
NP -- Shorter 45 yard run, kick good 5:35
NP -- Everts 22 yard pass to Smerage, kick good 1:05
NP -- North Putnam touchdown, kick good 4:19
NP -- Spencer 6 yard run, kick good 7:30
NP -- Shorter 80 yard interception return, conversion failed 3:10
Rushing -- Gibson 17-63, Riner 8-24, Z. Smith 2-1, Lorian 5-1, Heller 3-11, Hammond 3-8, Patrick 5-5
Passing -- Hammond 9-25 154 yards TD, 2 INT
Receiving -- Gibson 2-71, Lorian 3-44, Heller 3-49
Rushing -- Spencer 13-94, Shorter 2-45, Smerage 4-38, Everts 3-20, St. Victor 6-45, Belcher 2-10, Thrasher 2-7, Flynn 1-(-3), Quates 2-5, Smith 3-37, Land 1-(-1), Riggen 1-2
Passing -- Everts 9-13 206 yards 2 TD
Receiving -- Shorter 3-96, Smerage 2-40, Stanley 1-9, St. Victor 1-11, Spencer 1-1, Brewer 1-49