Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Friday's football between Terre Haute North and Northview's unbeaten teams was a tale of two halves. However, if you're a Knights' fan, the second half was a nightmarish tale that culminated in a disappointing 40-14 defeat.
The culprit behind the loss was a familiar one as Northview's rushing defense allowed more than 300 total yards, including 208 to the Patriots' Daniel Gabbard. However, the turnover bug reared its ugly head as well to compound problems for Northview.
The first half got off to a sluggish start for the Knights despite an opening drive that saw the Knights move the ball down to the Patriots' 20-yard line. Damon Hyatt caught a 33-yard pass from Trent Lancaster, who also had a 10-yard run in the drive. However, a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage, wasn't caught, which resulted in a live ball that was recovered by the Patriots' Michael Mace.
The Patriots capitalized via the passing game as Chad Holler hit Sidney Moore for a 19-yard gain and a 34-yard gain and found the endzone via Gabbard's eight-yard burst.
The Knights' next drive didn't last lone as Lancaster was intercepted on the second play in their own territory. However, the Patriots kindly returned the ball via a fumble of their own, which was recovered by Aaron See.
North would take a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter on an 18-yard pass to Charles Dillahunt.
The two teams traded interceptions to end a sloppy first quarter, but the Knights would regroup to start the second period.
The defense forced a punt at midfield and the Knights got going as Lancaster found Andrew Butts for a 17-yard gain and hit Zac Niehaus for a 20-yard play. Butts grabbed a 14-yard reception and Lancaster then scrambled for eight more yards. Facing a third-and-goal situation from the five-yard line, Lancaster found Jordan Girton open for the score to get the Knights on the board.
The Patriots nearly answered the Northview drive with a score of their own. However, Gabbard made his lone mistake of the night, fumbling as he was finishing off a scoring run of 20 yards. The ball went forward into the endzone and Tyler Trout recovered for the Knights to half the threat.
The Knights would take advantage of the reprieve as Niehaus grabbed a 24-yard pass to midfield and Damon Hyatt took a swing pass down the sideline and found the endzone for a 51-yard score aided by a beautiful block by Butts. The extra point by Trey Boor tied the game at 14-all and when the defense forced another North punt the momentum had clearly swung to the Knights' side. The Patriots' punt was also muffed as Northview pressure and a bad snap resulted in a kick that lost yardage and set the Knights up a North's 38-yard line.
Lancaster started the drive with a 11-yard run and Larry Shaffer caught a 15-yard reception as time wound down. Boor came out for a 29-yard fieldgoal, but it sailed wide to end the half.
Momentum remained on Northview's side to start the second half, however, it was brief. North's kick returned fielded the ball inside the 10-yard line with a leaping grab, but fell down. The Patriots were forced to start the drive from its own nine-yard line.
Northview's defense forced a third-and-eight situation, but Holler broke free for a 21-yard scramble and a first down that sparked the Patriots. Brother Scank broke a nine-yard run on the following play and Holler then hit Moore for a 38-yard pass. Three plays later, Gabbard started what would be a huge second half.
After having carried six times for 96 yards in the first half, Gabbard found the endzone on his second carry of the second half, a 12-yard scoring run. North coach Chris Barrett went to Gabbard early and often in the second half.
Northview punted on its following drive after a bad snap on the first play resulted in an 18-yard loss. North went right to Gabbard for a 43-yard gain and seven plays later, Holler snuck the ball in for a 27-14 lead.
The pivotal play of the game might have been on the ensuing kickoff as North surprised Northview with an onside kick that was recovered by Gabbard at the 39-yard line. The extra possession resulted in a 24-yard TD catch from Moore to start the fourth quarter and the Patriots were firmly in control.
Northview's offense couldn't mount much of a threat since they were hardly on the field. The Knights had just four offensive plays in the third quarter, one of which was a punt, and didn't get a first down until North had already built a 40-14 lead.
Gabbard carried the ball 16 times in the second half and gained 112 yards, scoring twice. North intercepted Lancaster a third time and the Patriots controlled the rest of the game to improve to 3-0 overall as the Knights fall to 2-1 on the season.
Northview returns home to face Sullivan in a conference match-up next Friday.
At T.H. North
THN -- Daniel Gabbard eight-yard run (Cam Grim kick), 7:40
THN -- Chad Holler 18-yard pass to Charles Dillahunt (Grim kick), 2:15
Nv -- Trent Lancaster five-yard pass to Jordan Girton (Trey Boor kick), 5:42
Nv -- Lancaster 51-yard pass to Damon Hyatt (Boor kick), 1:02
THN -- Gabbard 12-yard run (Grim kick), 8:08
THN -- Holler one-yard run (kick blocked), 1:27
THN -- Holler 24-yard pass to Sidney Moore (run failed), 11:54
THN -- Gabbard seven-yard run (kick good), 5:20
Rushing -- Nv (Lancaster 16-18, Hatt 7-19), THN -- (Gabbard 22-208, Scank 4-15, Holler 13-77, Davis 2-7, Knox 3-8). Passing -- Nv (Lancaster 13-28, 220 yards, 3 Int., 2 TD), THN (Holler 10-16 167 yards, 1 Int., 3 TD). (Finzel 0-0 0 yards).
Receiving -- Nv (Niehaus 2-44, Butts 4-55, Dickison 1-7, J. Girton 1-5 TD, Hyatt 4-105 TD, Shaffer 1-15), THN (Gabbard 1-8 TD, Moore 5-122 TD, Dillahunt 2-21 TD, Hare 1-11).