By: Nick Blackwell
Friday, August 19: anxiety had been building all week in preparation for one of the biggest NAHS football games of the season against Providence. Not many people can argue that the game against Providence in any sport means a lot to school pride and brings emotion out of the fans. The stage was set for a memorable game for one side and a night to forget for another. Fans on both sides rushed in to get the best seats to support their team. News stations, firefighters, fans, players, and alumni packed the stands for a game that is more than just a football game.
The game took off like a firework. Bulldog runningback Terrence Jones nearly returned the opening kick for a touchdown, but was called back for a penalty. The Pioneers came back and were the first team to put points on the board. Senior fullback Zack Johnson was the Pioneers’ star of the night and scored the first touchdown with 7:21 left in the first quarter, but that didn’t put the Dogs down. New Albany came within two when senior running back Terrence Jones scored his first touchdown of the night.
New Albany then took the lead off of Alex Vogel’s interception and Jones took it for 63 yards to get his second touchdown of the game. But Johnson responded for the Pioneers with a 14-yard touchdown to put Providence back up 14-12. In the opening of the third quarter Johnson scored his third touchdown of the night to put the Pioneers up 21-12. But the Bulldogs were not giving up without a fight. After catching a pass from Diehl, senior Scootie Middleton ran for a 29-yard touchdown. The late surge pulled the Bulldogs within two points of the Pioneers, but NAHS ran out of steam and fell to the Pioneers in their season opener 19-21.
Positives can be taken from Friday’s night game, which will benefit the Bulldogs later in the season. New quarterback Diehl rushed for 120 yards and passed for 77. Senior Scootie Middleton contributed by rushing 10 times for 118 yards. The Bulldogs look to get back on the winning track this Saturday against Castle at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.