WOLCOTT — During its winless start to the season, North White played better than its record indicated, according to its coaches.
The Vikings scored only 12 points through three games because of repeated miscues that derailed its chances.
That changed Friday night during its 42-18 Midwest Conference road victory against Tri-County (1-3, 1-1). North White (1-3, 1-1) capitalized on six Cavaliers turnovers to win going away. North White forced three fumbles and had three interceptions.
“Tonight, we didn’t have turnovers and were able to put ourselves in good situations to make plays,” Vikings head coach Kirk Quasebarth said. “We were able to get outside and get around the edges to use our speed. I think we are in shape and that has helped us a lot tonight.”
Tri-County closed the gap to 20-12 after a 10-yard, third-quarter touchdown run by Payton Stark. The Cavaliers forced a three-and-out but followed that up by fumbling on their next possession.
North White answered with a 12-yard TD pass from freshman signal-caller Eli Quasebarth to Kade DeBoard. Quasebarth collected two TD passes to Brayden Buschman, a 4-yard TD run, and an interception return for a score.
“All year we have been able to move the ball against the teams that we have played, but we would just shoot ourselves in the foot,” coach Quasebarth said. “Penalties, missed blocks and turnovers have really hurt us offensively and the inconsistency of doing some fundamental things kept us from making plays.”
Buschman, who collected two interceptions, said attention to detail in practice helped with ball security.
“We focused on ball security in practice by doing more drills to make sure we were holding onto the ball,” Buschman said. “Our linebackers and defensive linemen were forcing the interceptions by pressuring the quarterback. We had a good game plan and were able to execute.”
Eli Quasebarth threw for 132 yards and ran for 51, while Cade Garrett ran for 208 and a score, and caught three passes for 24 yards. Buschman caught four passes for 99 yards and ran for 37.
Tri-County’s Korbin Lawson ran for 84 yards and passed for 19. He was 2-of-7 passing, and gained more than half his rush yardage on a 46-yard score. Stark ran for 80 yards and two TDs.
“You aren’t going to win any ballgame having six turnovers, and we still felt like we had a chance late in the game to win,” Tri-County coach Mark Gretencord said. “Give North White credit because (it) had a great gameplan and executed it well. They were able to get around the edge on us all night.
“We would get some stops but then they would go right back to the edge and we struggled to getting stops on the edge.”
Gretencord felt his defense wore down because of the turnovers and not being able to keep North White’s offense off the field.
Coach Quasebarth was pleased with his defense’s improvement.
“We are continuing to get better on defense and making the fundamental plays,” Quasebarth said. “We wanted to force Lawson to have to make plays and throw the ball under pressure and we did that. It was a heck of an effort by our defense.”