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Cougars' ground game leads to big win

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GREENFIELD — Following Greenfield-Central’s record-setting 62-12 win over Indianapolis Northwest on Friday, G-C head coach Roger Dodson headed toward the locker room in search of equipment.

Dodson and the host Cougars returned with football pads to donate to their counterparts at Northwest, an Indianapolis Public School member struggling to financially support its athletic program.

Northwest coaches told Dodson they had a handful of players who can’t get on the field because of a lack of pads, helmets and so forth.

“Coach (John) Butler, he’s going to try to go to work and build a program,” Dodson said of the Space Pioneers’ leader. “It’s a tough situation for them. If they stick together and listen to him, they’ll keep getting better.”

The equipment giveaway was a nice gesture on the part of the Cougars and likely the last freebie G-C will hand out – or receive – the remainder of the season.

G-C scored a program single-game record nine rushing touchdowns Friday to improve to 2-0 on the year. The Cougars have 15 TDs on the ground this young season; they had 14 all of last year during a 2-9 campaign.

Both wins have been at home, but G-C is on the road three of the next four weeks, beginning Friday at Hoosier Heritage Conference rival Mt. Vernon (1-1).

“Our kids know what our conference is all about,” Dodson said. “We’ve had some pretty good games with Mt. Vernon in the past, and we don’t expect anything different.

“Mt. Vernon is athletic. They’re going to come after you and be well-coached. The same as they’ve always been. It will be a dogfight, I hope.”

The 4A Cougars had no such competition Friday.

Class 4A Northwest (0-2) fumbled its first kickoff reception and had negative-5 yards on its eventual opening possession. G-C packed three touchdowns around the Space Pioneers’ early struggles.

Cam Nuckols scampered 54 yards on six carries and fullback Andy Kim punctuated G-C’s initial drive with a one-yard run. Kim scored again on a seven-yard scamper to make it 14-0, with a Bryce Ratliff 21-yard dash on 4th-and-5 punctuating the Cougars’ second possession. Quarterback Jeremiah Fields made it 20-0 near the end of the first quarter with a 16-yard run.

Nuckols finished the first half with 118 yards on 14 carries, part of the Cougars’ 295-yard half on the ground. Nuckols and Kim added second-quarter touchdown runs, and Fields ran it in twice. Including a safety, G-C led 48-6 at the break.

They finished the night with 403 rushing yards, one week after tallying 495 in a 48-18 win over 2A Indy Shortridge.

“I can’t complain with what we’ve done,” Dodson said. “But, last week we had the four fumbles, and this week had one, too. We’ve got to take care of the ball.

“We’re getting into our conference now, and it’s going to be a bigger challenge for us, definitely. But, I think we’re still capable of running the ball.”

The final tally on G-C’s record-setting rushing night: three touchdowns apiece for Kim and Fields, two for Nuckols and one for Skylar Gary.

The G-C starters played the first series of the third quarter and then stayed on the sideline. A running clock was used in the first half.

Observers in the G-C press box said it was the first running clock for a Cougars’ game since a 69-7 win over Yorktown in Week 4 of the 2010 season.

G-C’s previous single-game record of eight rushing touchdowns was set in a 55-49 win over Pendleton Heights in Week 2 of 2002.

Friday, Nuckols totaled 148 yards rushing. Kim (58), Gary (51) and Ratliff (53) also got plenty of traction.

Fields rushed for 20 yards and threw for 74 on 3-for-3 passing with no interceptions. The junior went 2-for-2 through the air in Week 1.

“We’ll probably become more balanced in the sense that we’ll have to take advantage of some other things (defenses) might give us throwing the ball,” Dodson said.

“You have to take something away … and if teams put enough people (up front), they’ll be able to slow the run some. But, we’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing and keep getting better at it.”

As the Cougars’ open their seven-game HHC slate next week at Mt. Vernon (1-1) – a 42-9 winner over Marion Friday – there’s plenty of room for improvement, Dodson said. On special teams Friday, the Cougars allowed an 81-yard kickoff return for touchdown, the second straight week they’ve had a kick run back for a TD. G-C also missed four extra points Friday.

“Our kicking … we’re working on it,” Dodson said. “It’s kind of ugly right now. We’ve got to get better at that.”

And, through two games, the Cougars have yet to punt.

“That’s good and bad. You’d like to have a punt in there, because chances are we’ll have to punt sometime,” Dodson said with a smile. “If we don’t, you’ll see one happy coach.”

Notes: G-C’s Austin Johns had a second-quarter interception return for touchdown called back on penalty. The penalty was post-possession, however, and the pickoff stood. ... Nuckols, at linebacker, and G-C defensive back Matt Chittum had fumble recoveries. A scrum of G-C defenders converged for the safety in the second quarter. ... G-C’s last 2-0 start was 2008. It hasn’t started 3-0 in at least 20 years, the furthest date that records were immediately available for on Friday night. … Mt. Vernon beat G-C 55-0 in the regular season last year and 16-13 in the sectional semifinals.


Greenfield-Central 62, Indianapolis Northwest 12

NW (0-2) 0 6 6 0 — 12

GC (2-0) 20 28 7 7 — 62

First quarter

GC — Kim, 1-yard run (Jameson kick), 8:31.

GC — Kim, 7-yard run (Jameson kick), 5:37.

GC — Fields, 16-yard run (kick failed), 1:49.

Second quarter

GC — Nuckols, 4-yard run (kick failed), 11:25.

GC — Fields, 1-yard run (Jameson kick), 9:23.

NW — Brooks, 85-yard kickoff return (kick failed), 9:10.

GC — safety, (Jameson kick), 3:56.

GC — Kim, 15-yard run (kick failed), 3:27.

GC — Fields, 2-yard run (Jameson kick), :29.

Third quarter

GC — Nuckols, 2-yard run (Jameson kick), 7:08.

NW — Peoples, 72-yard run (2-yard pass failed), 4:28.

Fourth quarter

GC — Gary, 5-yard run (Jameson kick), 11:27.


First downs 2 19

Rushes-yards 11-89 52-403

Passing yards 9 74

Comp-Att-Int 2-9-1 3-3-0

Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-1

Penalties-Yards 10-52 7-55

Rushing: Penman 5-(-5), Peoples 5-101, Wynter 3-(-7) (NW); Nuckols 16-148, Kim 9-58, Gary 7-51, Fields 4-20, Ratliff 3-53, Herald 2-26, Hert 3-24, Henderson 1-3, Chittum 5-14, Gibson 2-6 (GC).

Passing: Wynter 2-9-9 (NW); Fields 3-3-74, Hert 0-0-0 (GC).

Receiving: Penman 1-6, Pryor 1-3 (NW); Johns 1-1-46, Kahl 1-17, Faitele 1-11 (GC).

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