Thompson boots North Central past Springs Valley
FRENCH LICK — Ty Thompson picked the perfect time to kick his first field goal.
Thompson’s 27-yarder with no time remaining gave North Central a 17-14 victory over host Springs Valley in the opening round of the Class A Sectional 48 football playoffs.
“I did not miss a kick in warm-ups,” said the junior quarterback, who had his only PAT blocked in the third quarter. “Even on the kick that was blocked, it was good, but they got a surge on their rush.
“It felt good all the way. They got my first kick, but I got the last one.”
With the score tied with 4 1/2 minutes remaining, North Central used 11 plays to drive from its own 27 to the Springs Valley 10.
North Central coach Travis Nolting called timeout with 2.5 seconds remaining to give Thompson a chance to win it.
“If we couldn’t get it in the end zone, we were going for the field goal all the way,” he said. “We don’t kick many goals, but Ty is very capable. He can kick out to about 30 yards, so that was well within his range.
“We didn’t want to get into some kind of crazy hurry-up mode and turn the ball over. Even if Ty missed, we were going to overtime.”
Springs Valley put together a five-play scoring drive to tie the game at 14-all.
Quarterback Braden Whitaker, who scored on a 2-yard run to give the Blackhawks a 6-0 halftime lead, led the Blackhawks on a five-play, 73-yard scoring drive.
He connected on a 41-yard pass to Jacob Land and then found Land for a 22-yard TD. Whitaker ran in the two-point conversion from the 1 after a pass interference penalty was called on the T-birds.
“I thought our defense was pretty good most of the night,” said Nolting. “A fumble set them up with a short field on their first scoring drive and they hit us with a couple of big pass plays.”
After a scoreless first half, North Central woke up in the third quarter,
They marched 74 yards in 5:26 to tie the game at 6-all. Thompson capped the 12-play drive with a 17-yard run in front of the North Central bench.
After Whitaker was intercepted by Luke Turner, the T-birds went 46 yards to take the lead. With Blake Chatman leading the way, Thompson’s 20-yard pass was caught by Turner at the Valley 1. Thompson then scampered in on the next play and ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-6 advantage with 2.5 seconds left in the third.
“We played much better in the second half,” said Nolting. “I tried to tell them that Springs Valley had played a tougher schedule than us and was a good team.
“We cannot continue to play less than four quarters. We still are shooting ourselves in the foot with too many penalties and turnovers.”
North Central ended up with 356 yards of total offense, 237 in the second half. Chatman led with 134 yards on 30 carries. He had 50 yards in the decisive third quarter.
Thompson finished with 87 yards rushing, Dawson Basinger 61 and Cody Curtis added 40 yards on the ground.
North Central (9-1) will host Tecumseh in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
THUNDERBIRDS 17, BLACKHAWKS 14
North Central 0 0 14 3 — 17
Springs Valley 0 6 0 8 — 14
S — Braden Whitaker 2 run (run failed), :27.2.
N — Ty Thompson 17 run (kick failed), 3:50.
N — Thompson 1 run (Thompson run), ::2.5.
S — Jacob Land 22 pass from Whitaker (Whitaker run), 4:30.
N — FG 27 Thompson, :00.
First downs 16 7
Rushes-yards 58-325 29-77
Passing yards 31 99
Total yards 356 176
C-A-I 2-5-0 5-10-1
Punts 1-31 2-29
Penalties-yards 7-53 3-25
Fumbles-lost 4-2 0-0
Return yards 36 56
Time of possession 28:04 19:56
RUSHING — North Central, Blake Chatman 30-134, Thompson 12-87, Dawson Basinger 11-61, Cody Curtis 5-40, Kegan Ennes 1-3. Springs Valley, Wyatt Purkhiser 11-40, Whitaker 9-28, Rhaeem Bell 4-7, Kolbe Lowe 5-2.
PASSING — North Central, Thompson 2-5-0-31, Whitaker 5-10-1-99.
RECEIVING — North Central, Luke Turner 1-20, Isaac Bonacorsi 1-9, Basinger 0-2. Springs Valley, Jackson Land 2-63, Purkhiser 1-20, Ammon Acuff 1-13, Lowe 1-3.