Tigers over­come 14-point deficit to top Indians

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— To the sur­prise of most in at­ten­dance Fri­day night at Ris­ing Sun, the team that en­tered on an 18-game los­ing streak was the dom­i­nant one early.

North East scored the first 14 points of the con­test and led by that many at half­time. Us­ing some key ad­just­ments made in the locker room, Ris­ing Sun shut the Indians out in the sec­ond half while scor­ing 28 points unan­swered. The host Tigers came out with a 42-28 Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion win.

“We were flat­ter than seven-day­old soda in the first half,” Ris­ing Sun coach Rich Opp said. “I think in the sec­ond half, we showed up to play some foot­ball.”

North East built its 28-14 half­time lead be­hind a strong rush­ing at­tack, pri­mar­ily us­ing tosses to get to the out­side. The Tigers ad­justed.

“We made more ad­just­ments de­fen­sively. Coach Opp made a great point with bring­ing the end out to cut off that sweep – that lit­tle toss play – that they were do­ing the

NORTH EAST

whole game,” Ris­ing Sun quar­ter­back Nate McCul­lough said. “It was a big de­fen­sive ad­just­ment. That was the sec­ond game in a row we’ve shut a team out in the sec­ond half at home. That was big.

“Of­fen­sively, I just told the guys that we’ve got to win our bat­tles up front, and if ev­ery­body wins their bat­tles with the guy across from them, then we’re go­ing to win the ball game in the sec­ond half.”

Ris­ing Sun closed the gap to 28-21 mid­way through the third quar­ter on a 25-yard touch­down pass from McCul­lough to Cameron Billings.

The Tigers forced a punt on the en­su­ing Indians’ pos­ses­sion, which Billings re­turned to the North East 25-yard line. Jesse Her­rera ran it in from that dis­tance to knot the score at 28.

Ris­ing Sun took its first lead of the night with 5:38 left in the game on a seven-yard touch­down run by ju­nior run­ning back Joe Jones, his sec­ond rush­ing score of the con­test.

McCul­lough stuck a nail in the cof­fin just 37 sec­onds later, keep­ing it him­self for a 19-yard rush­ing touch­down fol­low­ing a North East fum­ble.

“We have to take what we did and we have to learn from it, be­cause we im­ploded. We should’ve beat that team. We had them, and we im­ploded. That comes with more ex­pe­ri­ence and more coach­ing,” Indians coach Chris Sch­le­ich said. “The thing that kills us though was, we were beat­ing them on the edges and they ad­justed to take away the edges. We had to trap in­side and the kids strug­gled in­side block­ing.”

Ju­nior run­ning back Tay­lor Danglade scored a pair of first-half touch­downs for North East. Sopho­more Jalen Giles ran for a 57-yard score and caught a 39-yard touch­down pass on the first play of the sec­ond quar­ter from tight end Chase Hol­lis­ter.

“My of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor was like ‘Are you sure?’ I said, ‘I think we got ‘em,” Sch­le­ich said of the trick play. “It was a good pitch-pass. We ex­e­cuted that well.”

Ju­nior run­ning back Mau­rice McCargo also found the end zone for the Tigers – a 20-yard run with 2:11 in the first half.

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GRO­GAN

Ris­ing Sun se­nior Ja­cob Gehron (50) tack­les North East sopho­more Jalen Giles (21) dur­ing the Tigers’ 42-28 Susque­hanna Di­vi­sion foot­ball vic­tory Fri­day.

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