On a night when North Montgomery honored the 1995 and 1996 IHSAA State championship teams, the current Chargers made the key plays to deny Crawfordsville their first county title since 2007, with a 21-7 homecoming victory.

North Montgomery did it with their defense, especially in the first half. Crawfordsville had the ball inside the Chargers red zone, twice in the half and could not capitalize.

Their first drive stalled at the Charger 7-yard line when they failed to convert on a fourth and one play and their final drive stalled at the 14-yard line, when Trent Johnson’s pass to Daulton Bridgewater was ruled out of bounds.

North’s scoring drive was impressive. They took over at their own 1-yard line, marching 99 yards in 14 plays. It was capped off on a five-yard run by Collin Knecht to take the 7-0 lead into halftime.

“I was pleased with our defense all night.” Charger head coach Josh Thompson said. “They played disciplined and attacked, and I thought they set the tone, especially early.”

North turned to their ground game in the second half, scoring on two of their four possessions and was denied another touchdown when they fumbled on the Athenian’s 10-yard line.

Knecht rushed for two more scores, one a five yard run with 11:14 to go and a nine-yard run to ice the game with 1:29 remaining.

“We did some different things with him (Knecht) tonight, and let him run a little more.” Thompson said. “It helped that we hit a few passes and got them spread out—our backs ran hard, and our line did a great job of blocking.”

The Athenians lone touchdown came on a 30-yard run by Steven LaTre with 9:07 left.

Matthew Fritzen may have made the play of the game when he stepped in front of a Johnson pass for a big interception that set up the last Charger score.

“North took advantage of their opportunities.” Athenian head coach Larry Getts said. “We didn’t score in the red zone, threw an interception and couldn’t get them off the field on fourth down, defensively.”

“The kids have never been in a situation where they were playing for a championship with high expectations.” he continued. “We’ll be here again, we’re not going away as a program.”

The Chargers (3-3, 1-3 SAC) were led by Bryce Claycomb’s 18 carries for 122 yards, and Knecht’s three touchdowns. They will travel to Western Boone next Friday.

LaTre led Crawfordsville (3-3, 2-2 SAC) with 57 yards on nine carries and his four catches for 40 yards. Bridgewater had 71 yards receiving and 15 yards rushing. They will host Lebanon for their homecoming next Friday.