By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Pendleton Heights held off the heat and a feisty Anderson football team to win its third straight game in this fledgling Madison County rivalry, 34-12, on Friday night at Collier Field.
Chris Clemmons rushed for 175 yards, and Noah Etchison added 115 as the Arabians gained 333 of their 408 total yards on the ground and wore down their hosts.
"It was ugly at times, but we know next week it's going to get a lot tougher when we start moving to the Hoosier Heritage Conference schedule," Pendleton Heights coach John Broughton said. "We played the two North Central Conference teams on our schedule, and we handled them pretty well. Next week starts the conference schedule, and we have a lot of work to do to get ready for those games."
Broughton was upset with a fumbled punt that negated a possession that would have started inside Anderson's 25-yard line and an interception at the Indians' 3-yard line that prevented another potential score.
But he couldn't argue with the final result.
The game turned during a stretch of a little less than two minutes midway through the second quarter. Following an officials' timeout because of the heat, Clemmons broke free for a 68-yard touchdown run that gave the Arabians some breathing room and a 14-6 lead.
When Anderson fumbled on third-and-1 at its own 38-yard line on the ensuing possession, PH quarterback Jesse Furrow immediately answered with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Eren Davis and the Arabians led 21-6 with 5:58 to play in the first half.
Clemmons scored the first touchdown of the game with a 15-yard run with 4:11 to play in the first quarter, and Etchison capped the Arabians' scoring with a 20-yard run with 8:30 remaining in the fourth.
It was the second straight week in which the Pendleton Heights running backs racked up big numbers despite playing behind an offensive line that's missing three starters.
"We're getting really good stuff out of (the backs)," Broughton said. "Give credit to the offensive line. You don't put up that many yards without somebody blocking ahead of you."
Anderson also got a strong performance from one of its reserves.
For the second straight week, junior tailback Tyler Welch filled in admirably for injured senior star Jerian Beard. Welsh ran for 195 yards on 21 carries, accounting for all but 25 yards of the Indians' rushing total.
His 81-yard touchdown run pulled the Indians within 7-6 with 3:55 left in the opening period. But, just as they had in the opening week at Fort Wayne Wayne, turnovers haunted the Tribe.
Anderson fumbled the football away three times to kill drives and had the clock run out after Welch reached the Arabians' 30-yard line just before halftime.
Pendleton Heights essentially clinched the victory when Chandler Wilson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 88 yards for a touchdown and a 28-6 lead.
The Indians got a solid game from senior quarterback Gaven Owens, who finished 10-for-19 for 159 yards. His 49-yard touchdown pass to tight end Robby Peal ended the scoring with 6:42 remaining in the game.
Anderson (0-2) hosts Richmond next Friday to open NCC play. Pendleton Heights (2-0) travels to New Palestine to open the HHC schedule.