South Putnam sacks Cloverdale for 59-8 win

Saturday, September 24, 2011
South Putnam's defensive lineman Rudy Harris throws Cloverdale quarterback for one of four sacks the Clovers suffered on the evening.

South Putnam and Cloverdale came into Friday night's clash riding different levels of emotion from last week.

While the Clovers were reeling from a loss to Cascade, South was still on a high from handing Greencastle their first lost of the season.

The two squads would be heading in those same directions after the host Eagles blasted the visitors 59-8.

South Putnam started off the game with a grinding, 16 play, 65-yard drive over 6:27 for the opening score. The Eagles went two for two on fourth down plays and finished the drive with Rob Gibson scoring from eight yards out.

Cloverdale went three and out and punted twice after the first was called back on a penalty. With the ball inside the Clover half of the field, South only needed five plays for their second score.

Quarterback Seth Hammond, after scrambling for a few seconds, found an open Lucas Lorian behind the Clover defense for a 28-yard score, then hit Lorian again for the two point conversion to take the Eagle lead to 14-0.

The Clovers, by the time their second drive had ended, had burned all three time-outs and were again gashed by Gibson.

The senior halfback would cap off a seven play drive with a 23-yard run to give the Eagles a 21-0 lead three minutes into the second quarter.

The game then was bogged down by punts and turnovers, as both teams gave the ball away twice. South, however, added a fourth score with three minutes to go when Gibson turned provider, faking a sweep and firing a pass over the defense to Justin Bumgardner for a 28-0 Eagle advantage.

After recognizing the South Putnam youth league players at halftime, the hosts proceeded to crank up the pressure as they scored three times in nine plays during the third quarter.

Gibson hit pay dirt for the final time after breaking off a 73-yard run to up the lead to 35-0. Zach Smith would power in from 13-yards out two minutes later and Lorian would add the third three minutes after Smith with a one yard run.

Place-kicker Zane Yon even got into the act, hitting a 34-yard field goal that was called off for a penalty on the Eagles. Yon would step back four more yards and hit the ensuing 38-yarder as well to give the Eagles a 52-0 lead.

Cloverdale finally got on the board through the arm of quarterback Justin Wilson, who threw a rainbow to Wade Warren for 44-yards and six points, followed by a two-point conversion to Trevor Lockwood to avoid the shutout at 52-8.

The final blow, though, was struck by Wes Riner, who went for 70 yards and a score with three minutes to go in the game.

A three-and-out, a punt and a knee later, and the Eagles were celebrating win number four on the season.

Afterwards, Eagle head coach Troy Burgess said that the score might have been lopsided, but execution was still a concern.

"We were happy to go into halftime ahead, but I wasn't happy with our execution in the first half. We had some long drives, but we were fortunate enough to pick up a couple of first downs on fourth downs," Burgess said.

"I just didn't think we were sharp. You have to credit Cloverdale. I thought they came out and played well in the first half. They were going toe-to-toe with us and our kids did a good job, but I didn't feel like we executed the way we need to.

"In the second half, our linemen up front did a better job, our backs ran harder and blocked better, our receivers blocked better. Offensively, we just executed much better, and that's what I told the kids after the game," Burgess added.

"I wasn't looking at the score. We executed in the second half the way we're capable of. In the first half, we didn't do that.

"Defensively we played well the whole night. They kept us in the game in the first half. They gave us good field position and allowed us to put some points on the board and I thought they did a very good job.

"This is probably the best night we've had so far from our defensive front line in terms of getting a pass rush," Burgess said, with the Eagles collecting four sacks of Wilson on the evening.

Cloverdale head coach John Butler said the defense looked a little different and played solid, but got beat at the wrong times.

"I thought defensively we played pretty well. Defensive coach David Petty asked earlier to put in a new look for this week, some different things compared to our base defense in terms of the look and the alignments," Butler said.

"I went against my gut-instinct and said," Have at it, coach," and I thought we played well defensively except for a few plays. I thought the effort was the best it's been all year, with the exception of a few missed assignments.

"Offensively, it took us a long time to get in the groove and find something that worked. We had plan A, B and C offensively, but it took too long to find something that worked and by then, it's hard to ask a bunch of teenagers to come back from being down so many points," Butler added.

"What I am most proud of my team tonight is when they got down so much, they did not stop. They kept going, they kept playing hard and we just happened to get burned on a few plays."

For Cloverdale, another county test awaits as Greencastle visits next Friday. Butler said the Clovers just need to keep doing what they've been doing to prepare for games.

"We need to stay in our routine. We'll come in tomorrow, watch the film tonight, compare the gameplan to the results and take the lessons from. The coaching staff will come up for a plan for the week," Butler said.

"We'll do our usual thing. We'll then come out and set the mindset for the kids in our team meeting Monday, which is to play our game. Never let a football team take us out of what we do," Butler added.

Meanwhile, the Eagles will host Mitchell for Homecoming, a team that at least through word of mouth might be similar to the hosts, though Burgess said that the film will say a lot.

"I don't know a whole lot. I'll know more tomorrow when we see the film. I've heard they're a little bit like we are, that they're a wishbone team. They're going to try to line-up and run the ball," Burgess said.

"They might be a mirror image of us, but we'll find out tomorrow and go to work tomorrow."

At South Putnam

Cloverdale 0 0 0 8 -- 8

South Putnam 14 14 21 10 -- 59

First Quarter

SP - 5:37 Gibson 8-yard run (XP no good) 6-0

SP - 1:17 Lorian 28-yard pass from Hammond (Hammond to Lorian) 14-0

Second Quarter

SP - 9:18 Gibson 23-yard run (Yon kick) 21-0

SP - 2:49 Bumgardner 34-yard pass from Gibson (Yon kick) 28-0

Third Quarter

SP - 9:49 Gibson 27-yard run (Yon kick) 35-0

SP - 7:14 Z. Smith 13-yard run (Yon kick) 42-0

SP - 4:17 Lorian 1-yard run (Yon kick) 49-0

Fourth Quarter

SP - 6:17 Yon 38-yard FG 52-0

CHS - 4:55 Warren 44-yard pass from Wilson (Wilson to Lockwood) 52-8

SP - 3:11 Riner 70-yard run (Yon kick) 59-2

Next Games: South Putnam hosts Mitchell for Homecoming and Cloverdale hosts Greencastle next Friday.