By Corey B. Elliot
---- — COLUMBUS — Plainfield held off a relentless Columbus North Friday night for a hard-fought 34-32 season-opening victory.
A potent mix of quarterback Brady Nichols’ passing and a ground attack led by running backs Josh Miller and Jacob Maple pushed the Class 4A Quakers over the 6A Bull Dogs.
“I don’t know if I have ever been in a game with more huge momentum swings, and from what I saw from (Columbus North), they were as advertised,” Plainfield coach Brian Woodard said. “I don’t know if we executed anything really well tonight. I thought we protected the passer well, but I felt like we got a little bit of a cushion and just made a few more plays than they did down the stretch.”
Plainfield capitalized on Dayton Clements’ interception on Columbus North’s first possession with a quick 68-yard drive concluded by a 21-yard Miller touchdown run that gave the Quakers a 6-0 lead.
The Bull Dogs reversed the momentum with just five seconds left in the first half when quarterback Michael Vogel hit Weston Moore in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
Plainfield went into halftime trailing 10-6, but went up 20-10 in the second half with two straight scores by Maple. Columbus North charged back, until finally, Miller’s 76-yard TD down the Plainfield sideline gave the Quakers just enough to get by.
Maple carried the ball 14 times for 116 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 76 yards and a score in a breakout performance that helped keep the Bull Dogs at bay. Miller added 10 carries for 111 yards and two TDs.
“I knew Jacob was going to be a lot of help this season,” Miller said. “I see him in practice working, and learning after practice is the reason why he is going to be a great running back.”
Added Maple, “I’ve been looking up to Josh. We have been going through the plays after practice and that made the difference tonight. It’s the small things that make the differences, and it was the small things that made the difference tonight.”