Article courtesy Richie Hall and the Hamilton County Reporter.
By: RICHIE HALL
Noblesville found itself down big at halftime, but made things interesting in the second half.
The Millers scored two second-half touchdowns to put a scare into host Zionsville Friday, before the Eagles held on for a 24-17 Hoosier Crossroads Conference victory.
“For some reason, we are the slowest-starting team in America and unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve gotten down 14-0 in a matter of minutes,” said Noblesville coach Dave Sharpe.
Zionsville jumped out to that 14-0 lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter. Grayden Addison put the Millers on the board early in the second by kicking a 29-yard field goal, but the Eagles took over in the second half of the period with a touchdown and their own field goal. That gave Zionsville a 24-3 halftime lead.
Noblesville ramped up its defense in the second half, not allowing the Eagles any more points. Meanwhile, Owen Jones stepped up for the Millers, scoring two touchdowns, one each in the third and fourth quarters.
First, Jones caught a 16-yard pass from Connor Meinerding in the third period. Then late in the fourth quarter, Jones zoomed 85 yards into the end zone for his second TD. Addison kicked both extra points.
“Owen made some huge plays for us in the second half,” said Sharpe. “He along with Connor Meinerding really gave us a big spark and led to that awesome rally in that second half.”
Jones and Meinerding both wound up with exactly 100 yards rushing.
“We had a great game from our quarterback Connor Meinerding,” said Sharpe. We know he’s a very talented kid, and we’re able to utilize his legs. He had a big game rushing the perimeter. He made some very timely throws.” Sharpe said that helped the Millers to open up their offense on the edges, particularly in the second half.
Skyler Tolliver totaled 8.5 tackles for Noblesville, and both he and Seth Stone made one sack each. Blaine McNabb had seven stops, Jackson Slone made 6.5 tackles and Stone totaled five.
“The start aside, I thought we played incredibly well in all three phases,” said Sharpe. “Coming back late and having a chance to win the game was awesome.”
Sharpe said the big thing now was making sure that Noblesville’s emotion and sense of urgency is there at the beginning of the game.
“That emotion’s got to start at 7 o’clock, not 8 o’clock,” he said.
The Millers are 0-3 in the conference and 1-4 overall. They return home to Beaver Materials Field next Friday to host Franklin Central.