By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
The game of football is about scoring points.
Southwester had trouble scoring points in their contest on Friday night against North Laurel, as they fell by a score of 17-7.
Thanks to the offensive woes, the Warriors fell to 3-4 overall and put themselves in a hole in district play with a mark of 1-2.
Southwestern went ahead 7-0 early in the second quarter, but would never cross the end zone again, as the homestanding Jaguars tallied 17 consecutive points to come away with a ten-point victory, allowing them to move to 2-1 in Class 5A District 7 action.
For the fourth time in the 2012 season, the Warriors scored first and lost. In each of their four losses, Andy Stephens’ club has struck first, but came up on the losing side of things. In three of those four contests, including Friday night’s game against North Laurel, Southwestern would only score once and never score again.
The Warriors got out front first in this one thanks to the legs of junior running back Logan Campisano, who scored on a 19-yard run. Junior Devon Baker added the extra point to put the Warriors out front 7-0 with 8:55 left in the second period.
Unfortunately for Southwestern, that would be their first and only score of the night. The Warriors turned the ball over on downs on five occasions in the contest.
“We just couldn’t punch one in on offense,” said Stephens. “We had plenty of opportunities, we just couldn’t convert. We played good defense tonight and gave ourselves plenty of opportunities. We killed ourselves in penalties, too.”
Stephens credited North Laurel for their physicality and the way they took advantage of the Warriors’ opportunities.
“North Laurel is good on defense, they played physical,” continued the second-year Warrior football coach. “We played physical too, I though it was a physical football game. They took advantage of their mistakes and we weren’t able to take advantage of theirs. That’s kind of what it comes down to in this type of ballgame.”
With 2:00 left until halftime, Warrior sophomore quarterback Austin Smiddy was sacked in the end zone for a safety. Despite the safety, the Warriors went into the locker room at the half with a five-point, 7-2 lead over the Jaguars.
Late in the third frame, North Laurel quarterback Michael Nelson tallied his first of two touchdowns to give the Jaguars their inaugural lead of the night. Nelson’s one-yard run and a two-point conversion pass from Nelson to Gabe Blair put North Laurel ahead 10-7 with 1:58 left in the quarter.
North Laurel took advantage of great field position late in the contest, as they scored another touchdown after starting on the 34-yard line on Southwestern’s side of the field. With 2:53 left in the game, Nelson threw a touchdown pass to Cole Lewis on 4th and 8, but it was called back due to holding.
After the holding call, the Jaguars had to get a first down on 4th and 20 to keep their drive alive. That’s exactly what North Laurel did, as Nelson got just enough to give his team first and goal from the one-yard line, where he would score on the next play.
Nelson finished the game with 19 yards and two scores on seven carries. The Warrior defense did hold the junior quarterback way under his average of 125 yards per game. In the air, Nelson went 5 of 9 for 73 yards.
Blair did most of the work on the ground for the Jaguars, as he carried the ball on 24 occasions for 93 yards. Lewis had a game-high in receiving yards, as he had four catches for 63 yards.
North Laurel had 139 rushing yards and 73 passing yards for a combined 212 yards of offense. Southwestern out gained the Jaguars with 253 offensive yards (240 rushing, 13 passing).
Campisano, once again, carried the load for the Warriors, finishing with 173 yards and a lone score on 29 carries. Smiddy carried the ball nine times for 62 yards. In the air, Smiddy went 2 of 9 for 13 yards.
The Warriors, now 1-2 in district play, will look to get back on track with two straight district games at home against Lincoln County and Pulaski County.
“We’re 1-2 right now and that’s not where we wanted to be,” Stephens told. “We control our own destiny and you can’t ask for anything more than that. We’ve got two district games at home that we need to focus on. You’ve got to play within yourselves and do what you need to do to win.”
SW - 0 7 0 0 - 7
NL - 0 2 8 7 - 17
SW - 8:55 - Campisano 19-yard run (Baker PAT) SW, 7-0
NL - 2:00 - Safety; SW, 7-2
NL - 1:58 - Nelson 1-yard run (Nelson to Blair pass) NL, 10-7
NL - 1:55 - Nelson 1-yard run (Kennedy PAT) NL, 17-7
SW- Smiddy 2/9 13
NL- Nelson 5/9 73
SW- Campisano 29-173 TD, Smiddy 9-62, Maggard 3-5
NL- Nelson 7-19 2 TD, Blair 24-93, McWhorter 3-23, McFadden 1-4
SW- Baker 1-9, Campisano 1-4
NL- Lewis 4-63, McFadden 1-10