North Hills football learns from losses, eyes another win streak

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019 | 10:21 PM


After scoring 34 or more points in each of its first four games, North Hills has dropped three straight.

Granted, the Indians (4-3) lost to Peters Township, Gateway and Mars — three teams with a combined 17-4 record through Week 6. Still, the bumps in the road have been informative, if nothing else, for coach Pat Carey and his team. Carey said the remainder of the WPIAL Class 5A Northern Conference schedule will be focused on improving.

“You find out a lot about yourself. I think there has been some improvement,” Carey said. “When you go against quality opponents, you find out a little bit about yourself. So, that’s a positive thing.

“And after these games, hopefully our players are going to find their edge. When you lose three games, no matter the opponent, you don’t feel good about yourself. You want to come out on the winning end in that next one. Our team is healthy, and we’re in a good place mentally right now, so it’s just about getting back out there on the field and proving it.”

In a 14-7 loss to Mars on Oct. 7, the Indians played a strong first half. The defense bottled up Fighting Planets running back Teddy Ruffner, holding Class 5A’s leading rusher to just 17 yards in the first two quarters. Unfortunately for North Hills, their opponent capitalized on a number of Indians’ penalties and scored two second-half touchdowns to take the victory.

It was a tough loss, Carey said, but the Indians were 3-1 in conference play after that.

“In games like that, when it’s nip-and-tuck, it comes down to attention to detail. We were 7-to-1 on penalties on Friday night, and most of those we committed in the second half,” Carey said. “Mars is a good team, and when you’re playing good teams and working hard against them, those calls are a byproduct of that.

“From now on though, it’s all about accountability to each other for these guys and attention to detail. That’s what we’re focusing on in order to improve. If we do that, I think we have enough talent on this team to be successful.”

One consistent for North Hills has been the play of quarterback Dylan Pawling. The senior leads the Indians with 455 rushing yards.

“Dylan has been really good,” Carey said. “He’s our leader on offense, and I am really pleased with what he’s done so far. The passing game is really coming along. It can always be better but his overall play has been exceptional this year. No question about it. He’s really been a big part of making this offense go. He’s improved a lot.”

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