Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Braxton Dial of Central Noble breaks Churubusco’s defensive line for a first down.
Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Jeff Myers of Central Noble pulls Sam Wood of Churubusco down during the second quarter Friday night.
Friday, September 29, 2017 11:30 pm
Central Noble 19, Churubusco 17
Central Noble rallies for win over Churubusco
JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette
ALBION – Central Noble’s biggest football game in nearly 15 years didn’t disappoint Friday.
The Cougar faithful certainly weren’t disappointed in the outcome, as the hosts rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to knock off Class A No. 4 Churubusco 19-17.
The victory assured a few milestones for Central Noble (6-1, 3-0) – the first winning season since a 6-5 campaign in 2007 and the first win over the Eagles since 2003. It also secured a share of the small-school NECC title for the Cougars, its first conference crown since 2003. A win at Eastside Friday means an outright championship.
“It’s taken great dedication by our young men,” Cougar coach Greg Moe said of his team’s improvement from last season’s 2-8 record. “We made up our mind when we started in November that crap was going to stop. We were going to be champions. Our team won this tonight because they’re great young men and they worked hard.”
And that hard work shined after halftime, particularly on defense. Churubusco (6-1, 3-1) was averaging 277 yards rushing per game entering Friday, but was held to just six yards on 16 second-half carries.
“That’s what we talked about at halftime,” Moe said. “We know we can play in the second half, that we could come back in the second half.”
Still, trailing 17-7 thanks to a 40-yard Joey Emenhiser field goal as the first half expired, the Cougars needed a spark. Speedster Breeon Burgess provided exactly that with a pair of second-half touchdowns, the second coming with 48.3 seconds remaining.
“I just followed my blocks,” Burgess said. “Coach told me to get on the outside, so I got on the outside. He said we had to run it the right way, we followed what he said and we’re here.
“It’s amazing. I can’t even find words for it. It’s amazing.”
Trailing 17-13 midway through the fourth, Central Noble was stopped on fourth-and 1 on its own 13. But a pair of Eagle penalties, including one that erased a Sam Wood touchdown run, stalled a drive that would ultimately end with a punt – Churubusco’s seventh of the night – from the Cougars 30.
On the ensuing, game-winning drive, Central Noble moved 80 yards – 28 coming off a pair of personal foul penalties against Churubusco. The second, a face mask penalty following a 28-yard pass from Nick Alwine to Jacob Brose, set up a first down on the Eagles 12.
Three plays later, Burgess’ 7-yard touchdown run clinched the victory.
“That’s a good football team, and they played really well,” Churubusco coach Paul Sade said. “They made some plays and it doesn’t help when the offense isn’t moving forward. We weren’t moving the ball effectively, and in a game like that you need to sustain some drives and we weren’t able to do that.”