Noblesville High School Football coach Jason Simmons spent his post-game speech on giving his players a lesson Friday at Hamilton Southeastern High School.
It was a lesson on discipline following the Millers' heart-breaking 13-10 loss to Hoosier Crossroads Conference and Hamilton County rival Royals.
It was that lack of discipline that led to three second half turnovers that helped allow the Royals to sneak in 11 fourth-quarter points and the victory.
"Discipline got us beat tonight," Simmons told his team. "It flat got us beat. When you figure out discipline, when you get that down, you might have a chance."
The most costly turnover happened with Noblesville leading 10-5 with just under 4 minutes play in the fourth quarter when Miller quarterback Grant Gremel mishandled the snap. The Royals recovered the fumble at Noblesville's 19-yard line with 3:49 to play.
Two plays later, Hamilton Southeastern quarterback Cody Huppenthal took a direct snap and scampered 15 yards for the score. Ben Boyson ran in the two-point conversion for the 13-10 lead. The Millers couldn't get a drive going to give junior kicker Jack Knight a chance to show off his leg.
Hamilton Southeastern's Isaiah Phillips snagged his second interception of the second half with a little more than a minute to play, sealing Southeastern's victory.
The defense was the focal point of the entire game, with Southeastern getting on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter when senior linebacker Ruther Poiry tackled Gremel in the end zone for a safety.
"Our defense was the key tonight," Hamilton Southeastern coach Scott May said. "Big second half with four turnovers, and that safety got our scoring going."
Noblesville's defense had Southeastern stopped in its tracks until some trickery set in with about 6 minutes to play in the game. A flea-flicker from Royals' quarterback Kody Sparks to Nick Mutchner, who then found Sloan Slaybaugh for a 36-yard pass play down to Noblesville's 27-yard line to keep a drive alive. Southeastern had to settle for a field goal, but it was that play that changed the game, and the Millers could not recover.
"That was a big play, but we were able to hold them to a field goal, but we turn around and fumble it on the very next play," Simmons said. "Our defense played very well, but we can't keep saying that and looking up and seeing a loss on the scoreboard."
Noblesville took the lead with 9 minutes to play in the second quarter on a four-yard run by Luke Blevins. Knight tacked on the extra point.
Knight gave the Millers a 10-2 lead on a 47-yard field goal late in the second quarter. Noblesville could not get their offense going in the second half.
"It's our inability to get anything going offensively," Simmons said. "We are just way too casual. 10 points is horrendous, and until we figure that out, we will continue to come up short."