LINDEN – The opportunities were there Friday night for the North Montgomery football team to claim a statement victory against reigning Class 2A state champion Western Boone.

Three times the Chargers were inside the Stars 30 yard line during the second half. Three times they came away with no points. That proved to be the difference in Western Boone’s 28-14 victory.

“Unfortunately, we had too many letdowns,” North Montgomery coach Josh Thompson said. 

The Chargers took the second half kickoff and held the ball for more than six minutes, reaching the Stars 26 before facing a fourth-and-7. Jaron Bradford’s pass to Kade Kobel came up 2 yards shy of the first down with 5:13 to play in the third quarter.

Western Boone, fueled by that momentum swing, marched 79 yards in seven plays and 2:36 to take a commanding 28-14 lead on Spencer Wright’s 3-yard run up the middle. 

North Montgomery again surrendered the ball on downs, this time at the Western Boone 44. But the Chargers defense stiffened and a bad snap on a punt attempt set up North Montgomery at the Stars 28 with 9:27 to play. 

Facing a fourth-and-3 at the Western Boone 12, Bradford’s pass was dropped. A completion would have been good enough for at least a first down.
“We had to capitalize right there,” Thompson said. “We didn’t finish plays.”

The Chargers defense got the ball back with 3:07 to play and the offense quickly marched to the Western Boone 15. But once again, a dropped pass on fourth down with 1:56 to go ended any hopes of a comeback.

North Montgomery relied on a couple of big plays to keep pressure on Western Boone in the first half.

The first came when Zak Searle stripped Spencer Wright of the ball during a sack. For the second week in a row, Keifer Carmean was in the right place at the right time – scooping up the loose ball and sprinting 10 yards for the touchdown that brought the Chargers within 13-6.

The second big play came after the Stars extended their lead to 20-6 on Wright’s 5-yard touchdown run. Kade Kobel took the pooch kickoff 54 yards down to the Western Boone 22.

Two plays later, Jalen Bradford connected with Carmean for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Bradford’s two-point toss to Kai Warren drew the Chargers within 20-14 at halftime.

 

North Montgomery had a chance to tie or take the lead just before halftime thanks to an interception by Zach Waldon at the Stars 42. Bradford, though, was intercepted by Wright at the Stars 5 on a fourth down pass. Wright’s 95-yard return for a touchdown was wiped out by an illegal block near midfield as time expired.

North Montgomery (2-3) now looks forward for a chance to win the county championship next Friday night at Crawfordsville.

“I told the kids I believe we’re a really good football team,” Thompson said. “I told them we have the ability to win out. We’ve got some tough conference opponents coming up but if we come out and play the way we know how to play and just put it all together, we’re going to be a tough team. We can finish the year on a good note still.”