Turnovers cripple Trojans in third straight setback
MURRAY – Mental gaffs continued to pile up for the Northeast Hamilton football team here Friday night and, not coincidentally, so did the losses.
Seven turnovers – four interceptions and three fumbles – haunted the Trojans (2-5, 1-4) in their third consecutive loss and previously winless Murray (1-6, 1-4) took advantage to win the Class 8-man District 7 bout, 48-30.
“We’re hurting ourselves far more mentally than we are physically right now and I don’t know how to correct that,” NEH head coach John Seiser said. “That’s just what it comes down to right now.”
Murray opened up a 30-0 lead at the midpoint of the third quarter. Northeast Hamilton made a little noise early in the fourth quarter to pull within 42-20, but the Mustangs put the game away on a 4-yard touchdown run by Brandon Short with 2:10 left.
Murray running back Jack Jones rumbled for a pair of touchdowns. He broke loose on a 24-yard sprint to the house late in the first quarter and added another 24-yard TD run in the final minute of the third quarter.
Mustangs’ quarterback Fisher Decker opened the game with a 2-yard touchdown toss to Dustin Teas. Decker punched it in from the 1 midway through the second quarter and then hooked up with Thane Simmons on a 9-yard pass that pushed Murray in front 24-0 at the intermission.
Teas capped the 30-point burst with a 72-yard strike from Decker. It came after NEH had driven down inside the Mustangs’ 1-yard line; Seiser felt his team had scored, but a questionable call on fourth down gave the ball back to Murray.
The NEH offense was stuck in neutral throughout the first half largely due to Murray’s defensive strategy of bringing every player near the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
Seiser opted to move Andy Pate, the team’s leading rusher entering the game, from running back to the offensive line in the second half and it helped. Nick Jeffers was sprung for touchdown runs of 33 and 11 yards in the fourth quarter.
Jeffers also returned a kickoff 70 yards to the end zone in the third. He finished with 165 yards rushing.
But NEH couldn’t get anything going through the air. Quarterback Hunter Dilley completed just 2 of 19 passes for seven yards and was intercepted four times.
The Trojans turned the ball over three times inside the own 15-yard line.
Ernie Schutt added a 50-yard TD run late after picking up a fumble for the Trojans.
Jonathon Eggleston had his best defensive game of the season with 14 tackles. Pate checked in with 12. Dilley came up with two interceptions and Zach Hassebrock had one.