TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

North Hills' defense comes up with big plays in win over Butler

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
North Hills' Joshua Hulbert grabs Butler's Jordan Cratty during the first quarter Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, at Margarelli Stadium.
Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, 10:42 p.m.
 

North Hills found a simple solution for a stifled offense.

“When you put a zero on the board, that makes it so much easier for the offense,” said North Hills' Josh Hulbert, who returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown Friday night, the highlight of a strong defensive effort by the Indians in a 14-0 victory over Butler at Martorelli Stadium.

A 20-yard run by quarterback Brian Johnson gave North Hills the lead on its first possession, which was the only time the offense moved inside Butler 29-yard line. But the Indians' defense made that lead stand with tackles for loss, two forced turnovers and a few timely sacks.

“It's just a good feeling for the defense,” Hulbert said.

Butler had its chances and usually good field position.

The Golden Tornado moved 78 yards on the game's opening drive, including a 34-yard run by quarterback Jordan Cratty and a 19-yard pass to wideout Canan Roskovski. But facing first-and-goal at the 1, tailback Kolby Kriess was hit hard and fumbled through the end zone for a touchback.

That sparked North Hills' defense.

“That's big momentum when you get the first score,” Hulbert said. “I'm glad we were able to stop them there. That carried us.”

Butler ran 31 first-half plays, and 26 took place in North Hills territory.

One drive started at North Hills' 43. Another at North Hills' 40. But both stalled when Cratty was tackled for large losses — 17 and 14 yards — by Anthony Danko, Brandon Malick and Elliot King.

Hulbert's interception came with 10:58 left in the fourth, followed by a key sack from Max Ungerman and a tackle for loss by Corey Bopp on Butler's final play.

Butler had more first downs (16-9), offensive plays (57-39) and total yards (215-195), but North Hills (3-1, 2-1) grabbed the Quad North win. The Indians, who missed the postseason a year ago, are trying to prove their playoff worth again.

Tyler Reddick, who missed last week with an injury, rushed for 92 yards on 13 carries. Hulbert had 82 on 15.

Despite a two-touchdown loss, Butler (2-2, 2-2) came away with added confidence. A year ago, the Golden Tornado were blown away by North Hills, 38-0. This time, in their second season under coach Clyde Conti, they were far more competitive.

Minus the 31 yards in losses, Cratty rushed for 97 yards.

“I'm still proud of our effort,” Conti said. “We've come a long way from where we were. We've come an awful long way.”

Butler hasn't had winning record since 1997, but Hulbert saw a much different team than a season ago. Already, Butler has two Quad North wins, which ended a 28-game conference losing streak.

“They were a lot more team-oriented,” he said. “They seemed like they knew what to do. They played hard, but we played harder.”

With 5:34 left in the first quarter, Johnson's weaving run gave North Hills a 7-0 lead. The touchdown ended a seven-play, 80-yard drive.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at charlan@tribweb.com or 412-380-5666.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Football

  1. Football coach Loughran settles in at Fox Chapel
  2. Kiski Area to host Alle-Kiski Valley 7-on-7 Passing Competition and Big Man Challenge
  3. PIAA takes steps to shorten football season 1 week
  4. Brentwood track coach returning to Mt. Lebanon sideline
  5. Armstrong football successful in debut during summer competition at Juniata
  6. Several Alle-Kiski football teams eye season at Heinz Field
  7. Norwin football uses WCCA 7-on-7 event to prepare for upcoming season
  8. Franklin Regional’s passing attack on display at annual WCCA tournament