Eagles get past Howe, reach championship
INDIANAPOLIS — The South Putnam Eagles traveled into Indianapolis on Friday night to take on the Howe Hornets in 1A Sectional 45 high school football. The Eagles used dominating line play to advance 19-12 to the sectional championship game next week. The Eagles will play Indianapolis Arlington who advanced by beating Indianapolis Tindley 52-0 in the other semifinal game.
“Our line played really well. We ran the ball well,” South Putnam head coach Nathan Aker said.
The Eagles compiled 263 yards rushing on the night. Dalton Scott (131) and Aiden LeBlanc (110) each gained over 100 yards as the Eagles only attempted five passes on the night as they routinely found running room behind the strength of the offensive line.
“That is the weight room. It is a weight room game. Our guys up front really dominated all night,” Aker said.
The Eagles took advantage of a Hornet mistake early. Howe snapped the ball over the head of its punter on the first possession. Following an offside call on the Hornets, Scott scored the first of his two touchdowns on the night. This one was from two-yards out and the Eagles led 6-0 early in the first quarter.
The Hornets couldn’t move the ball on their next possession and turned the ball over on downs giving the Eagles a short field from the Hornet 30-yard line. Scott picked up his second touchdown on a 14-yard run. The two-point conversion run failed, but the Eagles led 12-0 early.
The game turned into a defensive struggle after the Eagle score. Howe did not advance the ball past midfield until late in the second quarter as the Eagles also forced a second Hornet turnover with a Kain Gregory interception.
“Our defense came up with big stops all night,” Aker said.
The Eagles looked to put the game away early in the second half. The Eagles drove inside the Hornet 30 yard-line, but a couple penalties pushed them back and South couldn’t convert, but pinned Howe deep in their own territory.
The defensive stop seemed to energize the Hornets. They drove 89 yards in 12 plays to score on a Floyd Turner to Cameron Turner 18-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed, but the Hornets had cut the gap to 12-6. Howe got many big plays from Floyd Turner on the drive. The senior quarterback extended a lot of plays with his scrambling ability. He either picked up good chunks of yardage running or found receivers for sizable gains.
“They have got some exceptional athletes. That quarterback really extended some plays. We would do a good job, but he just kept moving around and making plays,” Aker said.
South responded two possessions later. The Eagles seemed to put the game away after getting good field position at the Hornet 25 yard-line. The Eagles used two big runs from LeBlanc to get down to the two-yard line. Christian Zeffel took it from there. Jon Hodge added the PAT kick and the Eagles led 19-6 with just 7:36 left to play.
The Hornets rallied quickly. Johnson hit Lamont Sutherlin for 26 yards and then after another short completion, found Jaylen Cannon in the end zone for a 28-yard score. The Hornets failed to convert on the two-point conversion, but just trailed by one score 19-12.
The Eagles needed to take some time off the clock, but fumbled on their second play of the next possession and gave the ball to the Hornets at the 48-yard line with 4:55 left.
“It kind of got scary there for a bit when we turned the ball over, but our defense just kept making big stops all night,” Aker said.
The Eagles didn’t give up a first down as they forced Howe to turn the ball over on downs to take the ball over on the Hornet 40-yard line.
“Our defense really stood up. Jackson Wood played really well on a bum ankle and Demetrius Leo came off the bench and made a really good play,” Aker said.
The Eagles picked up a couple of first downs and then knelt on the ball to finish off the victory.
“This is really great for our seniors. They didn’t have a lot of success in junior high, but they really earned this and I am really happy for them,” Aker said.
South Putnam 12 0 0 7 — 19
Howe 0 0 0 12 — 14
SP — Dalton Scott 2 run (kick failed), 6-0, Q1 9:28.
SP — Dalton Scott 14 run (conversion run failed), 12-0, Q1 5:07.
HHS — Cameron Turner 18 pass fom Floyd Turner (pass failed) 12-6, Q4 11:53.
SP – Christian Zeffel 2 run (Jon Hodge kick) 19-6, Q4 7:36.
HHS – Jaylen Cannon 28 pass from Turner (pass failed) 19-12, Q4 6:11.
First downs 16 9
Rushes-yards 48-263 23-34
Passing yards 0 183
Comp-Att-Int 0-5-0 16-24-1
Total offense 53-263 47-217
Punts-Avg. 2-23.5 2-17.0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 7-37
Rushing — South Putnam: Dalton Scott 21-131, Aiden LeBlanc 16-110, Devin Cashion 4-17, Christian Zeffel 7-5. Howe: Floyd Turner 7-45, Holliman 2-0, Cameron Turner 2-0, Jermon Minor 3-(-4), Jaylen Cannon 9-(-7).
Passing — South Putnam: Zeffel 0-5-0 0. Howe: Floyd Turner 16-23-1 183, Jordan Murphy 0-1-0 0.
Receiving — South Putnam:. Howe: Cannon 5-76, Cameron Turner 4-48, Lamont Sumerlin 3-36, Sheamus McCoy 2-11, Martez Holliman 1-5, Marcel Haggins 1-7.