By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
NEW PALESTINE, Ind. — Beaten, broken and tired describe the look of the Pendleton Heights football team as it exited the locker room at the conclusion of its 46-7 drubbing at the hands of New Palestine.
It looked to be a defensive battle through the first quarter, but that quickly changed as the Dragons (3-0, 1-0) hurry-up offense heated up, and that coupled with their defense not letting up was a recipe for disaster for the Arabians (2-1, 0-1).
“They dominated us on both sides of the line,” Pendleton Heights coach John Broughton said. “It is hard to call any plays when we were getting manhandled up front on both sides of the ball.”
The Arabians gave up 679 total yards on offense, while their offense mustered up just 195.
“We could not stop their running game because our line was getting pushed around,” Broughton said. “We could not run the ball because our offensive line was getting pushed around.”
Broughton’s comments are easily proven as New Pal gained 350 yards on the ground and PH lost 12. Without the running game, the Arabians struggled to throw the ball as well.
“The running game is huge for us,” PH quarterback Jesse Furrow said. “We run the run and shoot offense. Without the run, (the defense) can just sit back and guard against the pass.”
The senior found some late-game success through the air, but it was too little too late and did not translate into points. He finished with 16 completions on 33 attempts for 207 yards.
“We spread it out,” Furrow said. “We were down and needed to score and score quickly. We just opened up and threw the ball more downfield and got a little better blocking in the second half.”
Furrow felt the pressure of the New Pal defense all night as the Dragons recorded eight sacks.
“New Pal did a good job putting pressure,” Furrow said. “Their guys just beat us physically today.”
Fatigue seemed to play a part in the Arabians’ inability to get back in the contest. New Pal ran 84 plays from scrimmage — none were called from a huddle.
“I think part of it was our guys were getting tired because of their hurry-up offense,” PH senior Cody Cochran said. “We also lost all our discipline, we quit doing our jobs and just weren’t thinking.”
Cochran was one of the Arabian defenders charged with stopping New Pal standout wide receiver Tyler Walden. The senior had a record-setting night for the Dragons. His 14 receptions for 210 yards put him tops in school history for receptions in a game, career receptions, yards in a game and career receiving yards.
Broughton credited the New Pal offensive line for the success the Dragons had through the air, which led to four of their seven touchdowns.
“They got time to throw the ball,” he said. “Their line protects their quarterback extremely well. That was the difference in the football game — upfront. We can cover (their receivers) for so long, but we can’t cover them forever.”
The lone Arabian score came late in the first half when Furrow pounded his way in from the 1-yard line. The score was set up when Furrow found Chandler Wilson for a 60-yard completion.
Wilson also ran a kickoff back 83 yards and led the team in receiving yards with 137 on seven catches.
“New Pal played harder than we did, and that is the most disappointing thing for me,” Broughton said. “They played harder than we did, and that is something we can control. We can control how hard we play, and we did not play hard.”