Tuesday, October 04, 2011

SPORTS >> NPHS after first win at White Hall

Leader sports editor

North Pulaski can’t find that elusive first win, but is still competing hard. The Falcons travel to White Hall this week for a 7 p.m. kickoff against a team that started slow out of the gate but sits 2-0 in conference play and is improving every week.

The Falcons messed up a chance at a huge upset last week when a couple of mistakes turned a tough battle with Watson Chapel into an apparent rout.

The 40-14 final was only an apparent rout because the game was much closer. North Pulaski trailed 20-7 to halftime and got the ball to start the second half. After driving deep into Chapel territory, an interception was returned for a touchdown, marking the turning point in the game. The Wildcats also scored on a second pick six, and a 50-yard Hail Mary pass in the second half.

“That’s just what’s so frustrating about this season,” North Pulaski coach Teodis Ingram said. “We go out, execute, we think we’re going in to score, and then we give up an interception for a touchdown. It’s just giving up big plays after we’ve worked hard and played well for so much of the time.”

North Pulaski marched down the field and scored to open the game against Chapel, then had the Wildcats in third and long near midfield. That’s when the defense suffered its first breakdown of the game.

“We played soft on the corner,” Ingram said. “Their running back made the corner, and we couldn’t chase him down.”

Making things worse for NP last week, as possibly this week, is tailback and leading rusher Derek Hart is hampered with turf toe. He wasn’t able to cut properly last week, and may sit out this week against the Bulldogs.

“That makes it a little tougher,” Ingram said. “We just got our fullback Willie Frazier back from a hamstring injury, and now we lose our tailback. But that’s just part of football. You have to move on and battle through those kinds of things.”

White Hall doesn’t have the same kind of team speed as North Pulaski’s first two conference opponents, Helena-West Helena Central and Watson Chapel. They do have some strengths those teams don’t have.

“What White Hall can do is cause you some problems by having a few more dimensions to their offense,” Ingram said. “They started the season poorly. I still don’t know how Lakeside beat them so convincingly. They look like a team that’s finally finding their identity. They have a lot to prove after their start, and they’re definitely a team that’s starting to execute and play well.”