Football: North Judson’s defense does enough to clinch win
By Terry Turner Post-Tribune correspondent October 26, 2012 11:32PM
Updated: November 28, 2012 6:12AM
ROCHESTER — For most of the season, North Judson had played with injuries, often with as many as eight key starting players sidelined.
Friday night at Rochester, the bandages finally came off permanently for the Bluejays, and North Judson won its third consecutive game, 20-16, over Rochester.
For the most part, it was the defense that led the Bluejays into an sectional championship game at home next week against Lewis Cass.
And there may be one more key piece added to the puzzle next week, with senior running back Wes Derflinger, who has been out with an injury since early in the season, possibly returning.
Coach Kevin Cox pointed to what was probably the big play for the Bluejays. It came from Matt Barnett, who slapped the ball away from a Zebras rusher, and Evan Howard caught it in midair.
“We played good run defense tonight,” Cox said.
The Bluejays held the 7-4 Zebras to 28 yards on the ground, and although Rochester was able to get 218 yards in the air, the North Judson secondary held when needed.
“We gave up some plays with the passing game,” Cox said.
But the Bluejays secondary came through big, with Michael Minix pulling in an interception, and Eric Beckman playing outstanding defense as a corner.
“Beckman has only been playing corner two or three weeks,” said Cox. “He made some big plays late, as did Minix, who had that interception. And when you add in Howard in the secondary, you have three defenders who are taller than 6-1.”
Sanchez scored the winning touchdown on a 2-yard run, making it 20-16, and that’s the way the score stayed, although North Judson had to hold off the Zebras in the final seconds.