BY Dennis Glade
---- — ELNORA – The North Daviess wanted to get the bad taste of last week’s 19-point loss to North Central out of its mouths quickly. Boy, did they ever.
The Cougars (2-1) completely dominated Eastern Greene (0-3) in a 49-16 victory at Friday night’s home opener at Cougar Valley. North Daviess never trailed and scored all seven touchdowns on the ground.
"I'm just really proud of our kids and the progress we are making and the direction they are heading," said North Daviess coach Scotty Helms.
After forcing a three-and-out from the Thunderbirds, the Cougars wasted no time in taking the game’s first lead. Senior Colton Lengacher’s 38-yard scamper set up fellow senior Logan Turpin’s 10-yard touchdown run. Turpin ran it in for a two-point conversion to give North Daviess an 8-0 lead.
Eastern Greene responded on the ensuing drive with a touchdown of its own from quarterback Briar Martindale on a three-yard touchdown run after a 78-yard kick return placed the ball at the Cougars’ four-yard-line. Martindale matched Turpin by running it in on a two-point conversion.
Last year’s meeting between the two teams featured 81 points in a 42-39 victory, but the Cougars nipped that in the bud by dominating the rest of the first half. Lengacher added two touchdown runs, and the Cougars had a comfortable 22-8 going into the locker room at halftime.
The North Daviess defense did not offer many running lanes or open receivers for the Thunderbird defense, a start improvement from the meeting in week three of last season.
By deferring the opening kickoff, the Cougars took possession to start the third quarter, and Lengacher found the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown run – his third of the night - to give the Cougars a 28-8 lead.
With the game in hand, North Davies inserted backup quarterback, sophomore Sam Chapin, which paid immediate dividends. Chapin found Turpin on a 25-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 36-8 with 3:37 to play in the fourth quarter. Friday night was a preview of things to come as Chapin will take over the quarterback duties from senior Brady Helms.
"Sam (Chapin) is a tremendous quarterback — No. 1 he brings leadership and knowledge of a position," Helms said. "He (Chapin) made an outstanding throw to Logan (Turpin), you'll see a lot more of Sam (Chapin) at quarterback, because really (Brady) Helms is really a very good receiver and he does a good job blocking at tight end, too. As the season progresses, whenever we aren't in our spread set, I look for Sam to take over at quarterback."
Sophomore’s Andrew Steffey and Jacob Reed added rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give North Daviess its highest scoring game since beating Wood Memorial in Sept. 2011.
North Daviess will host Washington for its Homecoming game, and the Cougars will have an opportunity to start the season 3-1 for the first time since 2010. The Cougars have lost four straight to the Hatchets.
"Next week, of course, with the Highway 57 trophy game and having it at home, that's a game that we haven't performed well in for the last few years," Helms said. "We've got to put together and even greater effort next week."