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Early touchdowns lift Twin Lakes past North Montgomery
October 20, 2012Twin Lakes High School
The script was all ready for a storybook ending.
North Montgomery had faced a lot of adversity this week heading into its Class 3A, Sectional 20 football game with Twin Lakes, and for a good chunk of the first half, it appeared the Chargers might pull off the win.
However, a couple of big plays by the Indians (4-6) led to 12 first-half points, and that was enough to end the Chargers’ season with a 12-8 loss.
“We played hard,” North Montgomery coach Charley German said. “We made too many mistakes, and the coaching staff will take full responsibility for that.”
With an entirely new backfield, the Chargers could not find any offense. In fact, at the end of the first half the Chargers had managed just 13 yards on 20 plays. The team had also turned the ball over twice, but if it weren’t for two big plays by the Indians the game could have easily gone into the half tied at 0-0.
Twin Lakes came up with a huge play late into the first quarter when it was facing a third-and-11 from its own 3. That’s when quarterback Cameron Bennington hit McHale Gardiner for a 10-yard gain. On fourth-and-1 the Indians went for it and Bennington made the first down on a sneak. Then on the first play of the second quarter, Bennington hit Levi Pritts on a screen pass which turned into an 85-yard touchdown.
“We had been having trouble scoring early all season,” Twin Lakes coach Justin Gardiner said. “So that score and the other score we got in the first half were huge.”
Things went from bad to worse for the Chargers as they fumbled on their next possession, giving the Indians the ball on the North Montgomery 22. Four plays later, Bennington ran the ball in for the second, and final, Twin Lakes touchdown.
“We just didn’t do the things you have to do in order to win games,” German said. “You can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win. We didn’t execute offensively. We missed some tackles.
“This loss comes from the top down. It starts with the coaching staff, then goes to the plays and then the players on the sidelines. We win as a team and we lose as a team. There is no finger-pointing. We just didn’t get the job done.”
After the two quick scores, the Chargers managed to escape more trouble before halftime.
Twin Lakes caused another North Montgomery fumble and took over on the North Montgomery 25, but a goal-line stand kept the Indians from getting on the board. Twin Lakes had a first-and-goal from the 6, but tackles from Dakota Ramey, Ty Webster and Skyler Heide and an incomplete pass on fourth down kept the score 12-0.
“Our defense played very well tonight and got us some turnovers,” Gardiner said. “We just need to take a little better advantage of turning those into points in the future.”
The Chargers’ offense came to life in the second half, when the team accounted for 135 of its 148 yards.
“We made a few adjustments, and our passing game started coming around a little more,” German said of the effort from freshman quarterback Baylee Adams, who was 8 of 23 for 103 yards in his first start.
North Montgomery, which finished 6-4, put together its best drive of the night on its first possession in the fourth quarter after Twin Lakes, facing a fourth-and-10 from its 1, took a safety.
Freshman Alex Parson returned the free kick to the Twin Lakes 43, and three plays later senior Brett Warren raced 30 yards to the end zone to cut the lead to 12-8.
The Chargers never got past their own 43 afterward, and all hopes for a victory were sealed when Twin Lakes picked off a pass with 1:27 to play.
“It’s been a while since Twin Lakes has gotten past the first round of the playoffs, so that was a goal of ours,” Gardiner said. “This is a very big win for our team and the program.”
Twin Lakes (4-6) will host Hamilton Heights next week in the semifinals.