TERRE HAUTE — Even with the Columbus North football team marching to an impressive 40-14 route of host Terre Haute North on Friday, the Bull Dogs came away with a somewhat worried feeling.
Bull Dogs starting quarterback Triston Perry suffered an injury with just over three minutes remaining in the first half and didn’t return to the game. Perry’s injury was not disclosed on Friday night.
Fortunately for the Bull Dogs, backup quarterback Tanner Payne stepped under center (Columbus North led 14-7 at the time) and directed the second half flawlessly.
It helped Payne that North tailback Mitchell Burton had another huge night with 207 yards rushing, 14 receiving yards and four touchdowns. North raised its record to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in Conference Indiana.
The Bull Dogs also proved they could handle the long road trip to Terre Haute as it was the first time in the series between Columbus North and the two Terre Haute teams that the road team has emerged victorious since the pair of Terre Haute squads joined Conference Indiana. The previous five games, the visitors lost each time.
This Columbus North team is different, though, with a crushing defense and its vaunted rushing attack, led by Burton.
Payne only threw for 62 yards in the second half, but he also rushed for 58 yards. His 15-yard touchdown run on Columbus North’s opening series of the second half gave the Bull Dogs a 20-7 lead after the missed extra point.
Burton burst up the middle for a three-yard touchdown run on the Bull Dogs’ next series for a 27-7 lead and after the Patriots were forced to punt, Burton put a lock on the game when he rolled to the left side, entered a scrum of players, then emerged and raced 71 yards for another touchdown. The Bull Dogs led 34-7.
Again the Bull Dogs forced a Patriots punt, and they drove to the 1-yard line before fullback Collin Hatchett was called upon to push the pile and score the final touchdown.
The Patriots finally got on the scoreboard in the second half when quarterback Nick Barrett threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Shawn Hapenny but it was way too little, too late.
North sophomore Cortez Bandy added 54 rushing yards while wide receivers Alex Algee and Wyatt Barkes each added 23 receiving yards. Perry finished with 24 rushing yards and 37 passing yards before going down to injury.