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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette New Haven quarterback Bryan Sexton escapes DeKalb's defensive line Friday night in a 41-0 victory against the Barons.

Sunday, September 03, 2017 1:00 am

High school football

Backup gives Churubusco winning edge

JOURNAL GAZETTE

Churubusco coach Paul Sade said the void left by a season-ending injury to running back Garrett Horn wouldn't be filled by one player. Just don't say that to Nathaniel Keener.

The junior running back ran 28 times for 113 yards and the game-winning, 20-yard touchdown Friday at Garrett. His methodical effort kept the Eagles' offense on the field and kept Churubusco in control of the 22-15 Eagles' win.

“I know I'm not Garrett Horn, but I can get the job done and help the team,” Keener said. “I'm starting to learn pretty well where my holes are at and what I need to do to get the job done.”

Sade talked about the need for patience and diversity with the offense Friday, especially considering Garrett's “hard-hitting” defense. That waiting game paid off, as Keener notched his two longest runs in the fourth quarter.

“We had to have a little patience running the ball, especially at the fullback position because things weren't working out for us real early,” Sade said. “But we feel like we have some kids we can move the ball around to a little bit and that makes it a little bit tougher to defend.”

Quarterback paces Spartans

A key facet of Homestead's 47-3 victory over Bishop Luers was quarterback Jiya Wright's ability to shake off an interception on the first possession of the game.

The Northern Illinois recruit finished 13 of 19 for 204 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, and he rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

“I didn't feel he was going to get shaken much,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. “One ball he underthrew. He's got some things that he'll fix and he'll tell you that he made some mistakes. He did come back and throw some great balls. That score right before the half (25-yard TD pass to Trevin Taylor) was just an awesome play. So he played really well for us again.”

Bulldogs opt for 2-pointers

In Week 2 against Mississinewa, New Haven missed all six PAT kicks so the Bulldogs practiced last week in preparation for DeKalb, and ultimately, coach Jim Rowland opted for the two-point conversion attempts for five of six touchdowns against the Barons in a 41-0 win.

“That game, we could have lost at the end, we were only winning by four,” he said of a 36-32 win over Mississinewa. “You tack those on to our four and it really wasn't a game down the stretch. We practiced all week trying to get better at it and didn't have a whole lot of success so we just decided to keep our offense on the field.”

The Bulldogs converted on just two of five attempts and almost missed the PAT kick.

“We have to convert a little bit better,” Rowland said. “If you make one of every two, it's the same as kicking them through. I'd still rather line up traditionally and kick the ball through the uprights but if we're only getting it on a 60 percent clip, it's not worth it.”