ALBION-It was a sold-out crowd at Cougar Field in the Battle of the Baseline Game and homecoming for Central Noble. From the opening drive, Busco played without any doubt in this one as they beat Central Noble 21-12.

The Cougars received the ball first to start the game, and after initially getting a first down, Busco recovered a fumble. This would be the first of many costly mistakes the Cougars had tonight. The Cougars were able to stop them on 4th down deep into CN territory, but would have to punt after a quick 3-and-out. On Busco’s next drive, they took advantage of the opportunity in front of them and scored off a 1-yard run by junior Wyatt Marks. Marks would go on to run for 133 yards on 32 carries. 

All night long, Busco utilized the Wing-T offense with excellent time management, and aggressive 4th down conversions to put pressure on the Cougar defense and forcing them to play ketchup the whole game. Busco was never forced to punt until early in the 3rd quarter. 

Central Noble would continue to struggle to move the football until early in the second quarter, when Shisler threw the ball to senior Ashton Smith. Smith followed that with a stiff arm and a foot race down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown. Interestingly, they went for two where the offense was stymied by the Busco front 7. 

Busco would continue to be aggressive well into the second quarter. They struck again when they were in the red zone and utilized a reverse sweep where Ethan Smith found a hole down the middle for their second score of the game. That made it 14-6 Busco with 8:59 left in the 2nd quarter. That score would remain going into halftime. 

Most of the second half would remain the same, but a 4th down stop by Central Noble in midfield would regain some momentum. The Cougars were starting to get first downs, and even a wildcat formation on 4th down allowed Will Hoover to get a first down. Hoover finished that game with 102 yards on 14 carries. 

Penalties and a good Busco defense forced CN to go to their kicker Aiden Dreibelbis to kick a 36-yard field goal. His kick had the distance to make it, but it hit the left goal post and stayed out. Another missed opportunity; another win for the Busco defense. 

That would lead to Busco’s final score when Riley Buroff ran through everybody, turned near the Cougar sideline and scored a 40-yard QB run to make it 21-6 Eagles midway through the 3rd quarter. That score felt like the last blow to any kind of hope CN had. 

Central Noble would quickly move the ball down the field, where Shisler connected with Preston Diffendarfer on a 16-yard pass into the end zone. However, while CN initially made the 2-point conversion, a holding call on CN negated the play, and the Cougars ultimately would fail to convert the 2-point attempt again. 

The fourth quarter would prove to be Busco’s defense putting it away and eating up the final minutes to win their 16th game in the last 17 meetings. CN’s 6-0 start was snapped due to penalties, missed opportunities, turnovers, and the relentless play by Busco’s senior lineman Hunter Bianski. It was the first time CN ever lost a regular season game after starting the season 6-0. 

(5-2, 3-1) Busco’s divisional schedule is over with this win, but they are in line for a 3-way share if the (6-1, 2-1) Cougars beat (7-0, 3-0) Eastside next week. However, Central Noble hasn’t beaten Eastside in football since 2009.