North Xtra: Healthy again, Bruder drives North Hills

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Some times numbers do lie.

A quick look at the North Hills box score from its big 35-7 season-opening win against Fox Chapel last Friday night would reveal quarterback Jake Bruder's stat line to be 3 for 5 for 40 yards and a touchdown toss.

What that doesn't show is Bruder's anticipation to get back on the field after a season-ending leg injury last year in Week 3 against Shaler. Or the amount of preparation and skill that went into that lone touchdown pass.

Or that he only played two quarters as the Indians piled up 28 points in the first quarter en route to a 35-0 halftime lead that turned into a short night for the starters.

"It was awesome to get the big win," Bruder said. "I just think we came out and smacked them in the mouth and they couldn't really do anything about it."

North Hills (1-0, 1-0) parlayed two turnovers on Fox Chapel's first two drives into a 14-0 lead, including an interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Brandon Wagner.

"We were concerned," North Hills coach Pat Carey said. "We think that they have a good team.

"Our guys responded well. We were able to create some turnovers in the first quarter that really changed the momentum of the game."

Bruder's 21-yard touchdown pass to receiver Andrew Bly capped off the Indians' big first quarter.

Bruder said Bly was his third option on that particular play, which was designed to be a quick dump pass to a tight end.

"I had one of my tight ends on a little 5-[yard]-and-out route," Bruder explained. "Then I had one of my tailbacks out in the flat.

"I went through my reads and saw my tailback was covered. I knew the safety had to pick one of them [Bly or the tight end] and he picked the tight end so Andrew was wide open in the back of the end zone."

That was the last thing he saw, though, as a defender tackled him just after he released the pass, but the crowd's reaction was all he had to hear.

"I threw the ball and then I got crushed, so it was like a last-second throw," Bruder said. "It was pretty cool. I was pretty pumped after it happened."

Carey said Bruder's successful return was nice to see, and the celebration after the win was short-lived since his team knows the schedule doesn't get any easier.

"We realize it's one game and we have a tough schedule ahead of us," Carey said. "Our guys realize in our conference every single night is a battle."

Next up for the Indians is a 7 p.m. non-conference game Friday at Plum (1-0), which routed Hempfield Area, 45-19, in its season opener.

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