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by Mike Nutter
(September 5) LOST CREEK -- Following South Harrison's 19-9 loss to Tyler Consolidated on Friday night, Hawks coach Brad Jett sat dejected, wanting to accept some responsibility for his team's loss.
"Maybe this week I didn't do such a good job of preparing us," he said. "We had a month to prepare for Grafton, and had a week here. I didn't do a good job getting us ready mentally or physically for this game, so you could look at it that way."
By looking at the stat sheet, it would read like a tale of two halves for the Hawks.
For the first 24 minutes, South Harrison didn't resemble the same team that just a week ago defeated the Bearcats by racking up 269 rushing yards behind a strong offensive line, and holding its opponent to just 11 yards on the ground.
The Knights limited South Harrison to a mere 74 yards total offense, including just 4 yards rushing in the second quarter.
In the meantime, Tyler Consolidated's Chad Northcraft was busy amassing 123 of his game-high 180 yards rushing --highlighted by two first quarter touchdown runs that covered 57 and 47 yards -- to give the Knights a 12-0 lead in the first quarter.
In both runs, the senior tailback burst through two huge holes in the middle of the line, going untouched to the end zone.
"I've only got six kids I use on the offensive line, but they work extremely hard and tonight, our running backs really benefited from that," said Tyler Consolidated coach John Stender. "So far, I'm extremely pleased with the way they've played and the way our backs have run. They're not very big, but they'll bring it to you."
The Hawks scored late in the second quarter when Brad Greathouse kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:18 remaining.
On the Knights' first play of the second half, South Harrison linebacker T.J. Watson scooped up a loose ball and rambled 75 yards for a touchdown to narrow it to 12-9.
But as quick as the Hawks gained any momentum, they lost it.
Tyler Consolidated took control again as Gentry Buchanan returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a score and a 19-9 lead.
"That play definitely took all our wind out of our sails," Jett said.
"But then again, we were there until the last ticks of the clock. This was an extremely physical game, and we had nothing to be ashamed of."
The Hawks threatened one last time midway through the fourth quarter, behind the running of sophomore Drew Toth, who got South Harrison down to the Knight 30 before two consecutive penalties ended the drive.
Toth rushed for 94 yards in the second half after a first half that saw him limited to negative 2 yards.
Ben Hall carried 21 times for 75 yards for South Harrison (1-1).
The Hawks return to action next Friday when they travel to face Bridgeport in a Big 10 contest, while the Knights host Ritchie County.