How good was the Miller defense? NHS picked up zero first downs in the first quarter, one in the third and zero again in the fourth until the Tigers began inside their own 1-yard line with about 4 minutes to play.
“They did a great job,” NHS coach Greg Nation said of the Millers. “They schemed us well, they played super hard.”
Yukon was led by Groce, who caught a touchdown pass, converted the fake punt and finished with three grabs for 90 yards, as well as quarterback Hayden Somerville, who completed just 10 of 24 for 135 yards, yet did it after completing only 3 of 12, along with two interceptions, to begin the game.
Dean threw for 110 yards, though it was just 31 until the final drive.
Carter regretted not making better use of a big night from the Tiger defense.
“We didn’t’ capitalize,” he said. “The defense was giving us field position and we just didn’t come through.”
No Tiger was more valuable than kicker Matt Hockett, who was perfect on his point-afters, hit field goals of 42 and 39 yards, and averaged more than 43 yards over seven punts, frequently turning the field around, yet too often for no result.
Nation waxed philosophical when on his way out of the stadium.
“The best thing is we’re 0-0,” he said, alluding to district play. “This is the NFL preseason we just finished. They don’t worry about the preseason and we don’t either. The next seven games are what matters and that’s what we’re excited about.”
They’ll face them with the benefit of a few lessons, learned the hard way at Miller Stadium.
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