PENDLETON HEIGHTS — If New Palestine’s inability to hold onto the football was limited to a particular method of possession, there might be hope for a quick fix.
Instead, the Dragons were left searching for answers after fumbling their way to a 43-13 loss at Pendleton Heights Friday.
New Palestine, which had its 20-game Hoosier Heritage Conference win streak snapped, lost possession on its opening drive after a wide receiver was stripped of the ball. Pendleton Heights later scored for a 7-0 lead.
The Dragons would go on to drop the pigskin on 4th-and-1 at the Arabians’ five-yard line, get stripped on a punt return and lose the ball again on an interception — all in the first half.
So, despite dominating the line of scrimmage in the first two quarters (and gaining 14 first downs to Pendleton Heights’ five), the Dragons trailed 31-13 at the break and never recovered.
“We found ways that haven’t been seen before to turn the ball over,” New Palestine coach Charlie Hill said. “We gave it to them in fashions that I couldn’t imagine.
“I sure didn’t see it coming that way and it certainly wasn’t from not trying to work on it. But, obviously, we have a multiple issues there.”
Hill said ball security has been a major point of emphasis in practice, in large part because the Dragons (1-2, 0-1 HHC) had 10 turnovers in their first two games.