The Edmond Sun

November 16, 2013

Seal the deal

North defensive back Hobbs returns interception for game-ending score

Scott Wanish
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — In the final minutes with Edmond North attempting to defend a slender 9-7 advantage over rival Memorial looking into a stiff southern wind Friday night, the Bulldogs were riding momentum after quarterback Mick Mayerske had hit Jordan Reed with a perfect strike for a 40-yard touchown just minutes earlier.

Memorial was in gear to repeat the feat, but Husky defensive back Jake Hobbs anticipated wholly, ran up and jumped a Bulldog route, picked off the pass, broke a tackle and sprung free up the left sideline for a 62-yard interception return for a TD to send Edmond North to the second round of the playoffs with a 16-7 conquest of Memorial at Wantland Stadium. The Huskies, 7-4, will play at Tulsa Union (9-2) next Friday. The ‘Dogs finish 2013 at 6-5.

“We were in a zone cover 2,” a euphoric Hobbs said after the victory. “I just saw it (the play develop).

“I feel awesome; we worked our butts off in practice all week.”

In week one, it was the Memorial defense that blanked North 13-0 in the season opener at Wantland Stadium. Friday night, a pack of Huskies seemed to encase Bulldog star running back Warren Wand wherever he would cut.

“We wanted to contain Warren (Wand),” Hobbs pointed out.

Wand, who blasted North for 154 yards rushing in the first meeting, was bottled up for nearly half that, going for just 68 yards on 33 attempts (2.1 average per carry).

North cleared Memorial in the rushing department by over 100 yards, 177-71 and held a 9-0 advantage going into the final quarter on three Trevor Moore field goals. The Husky running attack was led by Ezel McIntee (14-52), Zack Jenkins (12-49) and quarterback Stephen McClernon (5-46).

“They played their rear ends off,” first-year North head coach Scott Burger said. “They worked hard all week.

“It’s an awesome feeling. I’m more happy for the kids. They’re the ones who do all the playing. Sometimes, coaches get too much credit.”

Moore did not miss and converted a mammoth field 51-yard field goal for a 6-0 cushion with the wind to his back on the first drive of the latter half. The Huskies started near midfield when Memorial failed to recover an onside kick.

Moore popped in a chip shot from 22 yards away with 1:15 left in the third for the 9-0 advantage. The field goal was set up when Memorial maintained possession at its own 25-yard line, but out of the shotgun snapped the ball back to the three, where North’s Nicholas Hernandez recovered. Hernandez also recorded a minus-5 tackle on Wand and knocked down a pass in the game.

The initial field goal by Moore came with just seven minutes to play before half from 25 yards out.

Burger said his team improved throughout the year was one of the reasons his troops flip-flopped a 13-0 setback to the Bulldogs in the regualar season into a 16-7 playoff win.

“The kids are a lot more familiar with the offense,” he said.

“Mainly, we took better care of the ball.”

On defense, Husky David Wright had an interception and teammate Luke Matthews had a minus-1 tackle on Wand.

For Memorial, Ben Moore prevented a North score by recovering a Husky fumble at the one in the first quarter and he also got a minus-1 tackle on a reverse.

Fellow Bulldog Robert Charlton batted away a pass deep in Memorial territory on a long pass attempt to Luke Rossi. Rossi led all receivers with 54 yards on three catches while North’s Miles Jones pulled in three catches for 27 yards.

McClernon made good on 8-of-12 passes for 95 yards and no interceptions.