RUSHVILLE — Two teams looking for their first Hoosier Heritage Conference win of the season battled at Rushville’s Hinshaw Field Friday, and the New Palestine Dragons prevailed over the Rushville Lions 35-20.
It was a balance of offense, defense and special teams play that fueled Dragons in spoiling the Lions Homecoming.
“We did some good things,” NP coach Charlie Hill said. “We had some big plays that we knew were in there someplace.”
The Dragons dominated the first half, scoring 21 unanswered points on their first three possessions of the game.
On the opening drive, NP drove 62-yards on the back of senior Collin Hill. He had 48 of the yards on five carries including a 12-yard touchdown run to get the scoring underway.
He went on to rush for 104 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns.
Charlie Hill said he was pleased with the work coach Dan Buchanan has done with the offensive line of late. He added that the line is continuing to improve in executing they way they need to on plays.
Senior Nick Survant got in on the action, scoring the team’s second touchdown of the game on a 19-yard run to the left side.
To close out the first quarter, NP’s air attack made a strong statement. Junior quarterback Blake Luker found fellow junior Tyler Walden for an 80-yard pass to set-up third touchdown of the first half. That came in the opening seconds of the second quarter when Collin Hill found the end zone for his second scoring run of the game.
The NP defense kept the Rushville offense from crossing midfield during the first quarter and they continued to make big plays in the second quarter.
Rushville took both of their second quarter drives deep into Dragon territory—the first drive to the 16 and the second to the one. Both ended with the NP defense stopping the Lion quarterback, Clay Tressler, on fourth down running plays.
In the first half, senior quarterback Max Disman saw his first action of the year after off-season knee surgery has kept him sidelined thus far.
“Max worked hard and worked himself back in there,” Charlie Hill said.
The coach said the unselfishness of Luker made him proud of the junior. He added that having Disman back allows Luker to play on the other side of the ball some.
Rushville came out after the half with a higher level of energy. They took the opening drive of the second half 65 yards for a touchdown in just 52 seconds. The big play—a 66-yard Ashton Wilson reception from Tressler.
After a defensive stop, Rushville’s offense struck quickly again.
It took two plays and 44 seconds for Tressler and Wilson to hook up again for a long pass play, 58 yards to draw within eight points.
“Coming out after halftime we just didn’t stand on it like we needed to and control it,” Charlie Hill said. “We make a couple mistakes, they get a little excited then they make a couple plays.”
It was time for the NP special teams to step up. On the kickoff, Walden took the ball 79 yards to the Lions four yard line. They went up 27-12 when Luker tossed Nolan Guedel an 11-yard touchdown pass.
After a Rushville three and out, NP took the ball on their own 29 yard line. Back-to-back long rushing plays by Survant and Jackson Taylor put the Dragons on the Rushville four. Survant then took the handoff and fumbled the ball fighting for extra yards. And Rushville took over on their 1 -yard line.
The New Pal defense again held forcing punt with the punter on the back edge of the end zone.
“That was a big stop to turn it around,” Charlie Hill said. “The defensive kids rallied boom-boom-boom, three great stops.”
A miscue on the snap led to a safety for New Pal to go up 29-12 at the end of the third quarter.
New Pal defensive back Garrett Kuhn, picked off Tressler in the fourth quarter. It led to a short field for the Dragons. Sophomore Sterling Curran scored New Pals final points of the game to go up 35-12.
Rushville scored on their final possession of the game on a 15-yard run by Zach Turner, reaching the final score of 35-20 after the 2-point conversion.
“We worked really hard (this week) after we struggled with a few things last week that kept us a little less productive,” Charlie Hill said. “They answered back well today.”
New Palestine 35, Rushville 20
NP (2-3, 1-2 HHC) 14 7 8 6 — 35
RV (1-4, 0-3 HHC) 0 0 12 8 — 20
NP — Co. Hill, 12-yard run (Weber kick), 9:17.
NP — Survant, 19-yard run (Weber kick), 5:08.
NP — Co. Hill, 17-yard run (Weber kick), 11:54.
RV — A. Wilson, 66-yard pass from C. Tressler (kick failed), 11:08.
RV — A. Wilson, 58-yard pass from C. Tressler (2-pt try failed), 6:38.
NP — Guedel, 11-yard pass from Luker (kick blocked), 5:35.
NP — Wright, Safety, 1:56
NP — Curran, 14-yard run (Kick failed), 2:53.
RV — Turner, 15-yard run (A. Wilson 3-yard pass from Tressler), 1:38.
First downs 10 7
Rushes-yards 34-212 34-92
Passing yards 196 24
Comp-Att-Int 10-15-0 5-23-1
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 11-60 4-37
Rushing: Luker 1-(-10), Wagner 1-5, Co. Hill 19-104, Taylor 1-53, Survant 2-33, Disman 3-(-22), Curran 5-47,Grable 1-3, Ch. Hill 1-(-1) (NP); Hittle 16-65, C. Tressler 9-39, Turner 8-22, Maggard 1-2 (RV).
Passing: Luker 6-7-130, Disman 4-8-66 (NP); C. Tressler 5-22-148, Hittle 0-1-0 (RV).
Receiving: Scott Lyons 2-29, Corey Lyons 1-10,Walden 6-146, Guedel 1-11 (NP); A. Wilson 4-142, Valentine 1-6 (RV).