Scots top Pirates in lightning-shortened contest
By ROB HAMILTON
While lightning strikes caused Highland’s Homecoming game against Cardington to be ruled concluded with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the home team’s fans still had plenty to celebrate.
The Scots racked up over 400 yards to go with five rushing touchdowns, as well as a goal-line stand, in winning 34–0 to improve to 3–2 on the season, 3–1 in conference play.
The goal-line stand might have been the moment in the game that made Scot coach Chad Carpenter most proud. Cardington had opened the half with a 79-yard drive that went from their 20 to the Highland one-yard line.
Chase Deckling had runs of 16 and 15 yards, while Colton Jenkins added a 16-yard gain that had a 15-yard late hit tacked on, as the Pirates moved down the field.
However, after an eight-yard run by Deckling moved the ball to the Scot one-yard line on a first down play, the Pirates were unable to move it into the end zone, losing two yards over the next three plays to give the ball back to Highland.
“We had a great goal-line stand,” said Carpenter. “That was outstanding, but I think we got a little complacent at halftime.”
Carpenter was also pleased with the job his offense did after that stand. Holding a 27–0 lead going into halftime, they were able to eat the final 5:37 of the third quarter and the first minute of the fourth on a 14-play touchdown drive.
David Fisher ran the ball nine times for 72 yards on the drive, including a two-yard touchdown run to cap it. After Quenton Miller added the extra point kick, the game was postponed and then ended due to the weather.
“I’m really happy with how we handled the ball in that situation,” said the coach. “We moved the ball the length of the field and ate a lot of time.”
Earlier in the game, it took the Scots a little while to get going, but when they did, they scored on four consecutive drives to take a commanding lead into the locker room.
Getting the ball at the 4:29 mark of the first quarter on their own 49-yard line, it only took three plays to get in the end zone.
Quarterback Josh Gahm hit Shawn Beltz for a 41-yard gain to put them in striking distance and Beltz then added a six-yard scoring run to put his team on the board.
After a Pirate punt, the Scots struck again, scoring on an eight-yard run by Fisher early in the second quarter and taking a 14–0 lead.
Cardington, who struggled to move the ball in the first half, would then have to punt again. This time, Highland took the ball on the Pirate 49.
After a penalty moved them back five yards, Gahm hit Beltz again and the senior receiver wound up turning an inside screen into a 51-yard gain. On the next play, Beltz scored on a two-yard run to make the score 21–0.
On Highland’s next possession, Fisher did most of the work, with the drive ending with him scoring from seven yards out. While the extra point kick was missed, the Scots did still have a 27–0 lead, which they took into the locker room.
For the game, Fisher finished with 190 yards and three scores, while Beltz had 96 and two scores. Gahm threw for 101 yards on three completions, with Beltz catching two of those passes for the bulk of the yardage.
Carpenter noted that he wanted to use a lot of weapons in the game on offense.
“We tried to move it around a little bit and had some mismatches we liked,” he said. “I thought the kids stayed focused the entire night.”
For Cardington, Deckling finished with a team-high 48 rushing yards. Noah Zierden completed two passes for 15 yards — both to Dustin Blanton.