Defensive charge paces South by Shortridge, 44-13

Saturday, October 20, 2018

South Putnam took full advantage of playing its first Class A opponent of the season on Friday night, defeating Indianapolis Shortridge 44-13 in the opening round of Sectional 45.

The Eagles got on the scoreboard first as Dalton Scott accounted for all 59 yards on their opening drive.

Scott carried the ball four times to get down to the Shortridge 7, and then caught a pass from Riley Stone to put the Eagles on the scoreboard.

Shortridge, using an effective passing attack early on the game, scored on a 21-yard pass from Walker Perkins to Erickmycal Powell. The Blue Devils missed the extra point attempt and trailed 7-6.

Scott had a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to put his team up 23-7 at the half, scoring from 34 yards out with 9:29 left in the second period and from eight yards out just 1:36 before halftime.

Scott added a four-yard TD midway through the third period, and Kain Gregory scored on a 42-yard double reverse to put South Putnam up 38-7 through three periods.

Scott scored from five yards out with 8:01 left, and Shortridge added its final score in the fourth quarter on a 25-yard pass from Perkins to Powell.

Coach Nathan Aker’s team will travel to Indianapolis to play the Howe Hornets in the semifinals next Friday.

Howe defeated the Indiana Deaf School 37-6 on Friday.

Aker was pleased with his team’s effort on Friday, especially his defense against the strong Blue Devil passing attack led by Perkins.

“When you’re playing a team with athletes and speed like Shortridge has, it takes a couple of minutes to get adjusted to that,” Aker said. “We talked about it all week that our preparation was going to be key. We have double what they have on the roster, and we were able to practice really well.”

Aker credited Perkins with doing a good job at quarterback for the Blue Devils.

“He’s a good passer, and Powell is a good receiver,” Aker said. “We thought we could shut down their running game, and we did that. Our defensive line started getting pressure, and they started throwing the ball faster and not on target as much.”

Aker thought his team’s depth on the front line made a huge difference.

“Their linemen were all playing both ways,” Aker said of the Blue Devils, who dressed 19 players for the game. “We were able to rotate people in and out and we wore them down.”

Scott finished with five touchdowns and 176 yards rushing, and Aker thought his biggest impact may have been on defense.

“He’s worked his tail off to be one of the best players in this area and he was just outstanding,” Aker said. “He continues to add to his tackle records, he calls the defense and he just runs things out there on the field. He’s a tremendous kid, and his leadership has paid off tremendously.

“Our entire senior class has just done a great job of being leaders,” Aker said. “I am extremely proud of what they have done.”

Aker admits not having spent a lot of time thinking about Howe yet, but knows his team will face another athletic squad.

“We collect film on all the sectional teams, like everybody does, but haven’t really looked at it yet,” Aker said. “We felt Howe would probably win. They made a comeback on us last year in the sectional [which South Putnam won 19-12 in the semifinals].

“They have a really nice facility over there, and we are looking forward to going back.”

The Eagles came through Friday’s game in decent shape physically, although running back Connor Cain went down with a leg injury in the first half.

“He’s pretty banged up, but we’ll find out more [today],” Aker said. “We are getting healthier overall at the right time. We are playing 1A schools now, and it’s fun. We’re looking forward to next Friday.”

South Putnam61616644

First quarter

SP — Scott 7 run (kick failed)

IS — Powell 45 pass from Perkins (Stucker kick)

Second quarter

SP — Scott 34 run (Scott run)

SP — Scott 8 run (Scott run)

Third quarter

SP — Scott run (Stone run)

SP — Gregory 42 run (Scott run)

Fourth quarter

SP — Scott 5 run (kick failed)

IS — Powell 25 pass from Perkins (kick failed)

First downs716
Passing yards16026

Individual statistics

Rushing — Shortridge: Lemaster 5-8, Powell 4-8, Perkins 6-20. South Putnam: Scott 26-176, Stone 3-7, Cain 4-25, Switzer 6-26, Gregory 1-42, Gilliland 7-54.

Passing — Shortridge: Perkins 14-28-0 160. South Putnam: Stone 3-9-1 26.

Receiving — Shortridge Powell 6-72, Harlan 4-10, Lemaster 2-17, Ogden 2-19.