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The Journal Gazette

Friday, September 01, 2017 11:10 pm

Defense sparks Churubusco past Garrett

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette

GARRETT – If revenge was on Churubusco’s mind Friday, the Eagles got exactly what they were seeking. Holding off a late Railroader rally, Churubusco avenged a one-point home loss last season, winning 22-15 at Garrett.

“We came out here wanting something and we got what we wanted,” Churubusco running back Nathaniel Keener said.

The game had all the makings of a track meet early, as the teams traded touchdowns on their opening possessions. But the Eagles (3-0) would seize control, halting the vaunted Garrett rushing attack.

Cam Smith, who ran for 188 yards in a Week 2 win over DeKalb, was held to just eight yards on 11 carries on the night. Spanning the first half’s final eight possessions, the last 38 plays before halftime were run on Garrett’s side of the field.

Railroader coach Chris DePew didn’t mince words.

“It makes me sick,” DePew said. “This is high school football, and we’re Garrett High School. Running the ball is important, and we weren’t good enough at that tonight. Pretty bad at it, actually, and there’s nothing more I could point toward than our inability to run the ball and their ability to stop it. They did a great job.”

A 25-yard Joey Emenhiser field goal extended Churubusco’s lead to 15-7 midway through the third quarter. That advantage would stretch to 22-7 on a 20-yard Keener rumble with just 6:56 remaining, a score that deflated the host sidelines and sent some of the Garrett faithful for an early exit.

But the Railroaders (2-1) would respond in rapid fashion. A 63-yard drive ate up just 40 seconds, culminating in a 17-yard Dane Johnson touchdown catch.

Garrett’s conversion attempt succeeded as well, as quarterback Levi Follett’s pass attempt bounced off a Churubusco defender before landing in the hands of Jacob Bevis to cut the deficit to 22-15.

After stopping the Eagles on 4th and 1 from the Garrett 25, the hosts had one last chance to tie the game. Johnson’s 29-yard reception put the Railroaders on the Churubusco 33, but Follett overthrew his receiver trying for the end zone.

He didn’t overthrow the defender, however, and Emenhiser corralled the interception to seal the win.

“I started backpedaling and I saw the quarterback turn,” Emenhiser said. “We talked about (Johnson) running the fade route, so I knew it was coming right off the bat. (Follett) opened up, and he overthrew it. I was just there to make the play.”

According to Churubusco coach Paul Sade, it took a group to pull off the impressive defensive effort. Stifling the Garrett run game from the outset, the Railroaders were limited to just eight second-half rushing attempts while throwing the ball 20 times in an effort to get back into the contest.

“Our defensive staff works really hard in scouting and preparing our kids,” Sade said. “Our kids (flew) around and made plays tonight. That’s a great running back and our defense played well.”