By MATT KING
BONNE TERRE – After having its running game shut down by North County two weeks ago, Potosi tried a different approach during their Class 4, District 1 playoff rematch.
A short passing attack was instead featured with senior quarterback Luke Brabham healthy again, but the elements and opposing defense offered plenty of resistance.
North County broke up several throws during a steady downpour throughout the first quarter, and brought effective pressure against a struggling line.
The Raiders allowed just 8 total yards and two first downs prior to intermission, and extended their season with a 35-0, first-round shutout on Friday night.
Aaron Cook rushed for 180 of his career-high 196 yards in the first half, and scored two touchdowns as North County (4-6) advanced to face No. 1 seed Hillsboro next Friday.
Potosi (3-7) matched the opposition with three defensive takeaways, but only crossed midfield during two offensive possessions in its season finale.
The Raiders opened the game with a pooch kick toward the right sideline — a ploy that worked twice in the previous meeting — and Brady Duncan wrestled control away while rolling on the turf.
The Trojans answered with a forced fumble when Cook battled for extra yardage on his third straight carry. But the visitors went three-and-out on their first two series.
North County was undeterred by the heavy rain on a second drive that spanned 75 yards on 11 runs. Cook had consecutive gains of 15 and 12 yards, and soon scored from the 2.
Brabham used the favorable wind to net 73 yards on a punt later in the first quarter, but North County mounted another persistent march.
Hayden Barbarotto notched 10 yards and a first down on his initial touch after Cook ran four straight times, and Carson Logan pushed past the goal line from the 1 to make it 14-0.
Xavier Scherffius sacked Brabham for a sizable loss moments later, and converged with teammates Tyler Pipkin and Kollin Winch to strip the quarterback on the next play.
The ball popped free near the 2-yard line, and defensive end Seth Keen emerged from a crowd with the recovery in the end zone for a defensive touchdown.
The Trojans executed a successful fake while trailing 21-0, as Brabham threw from punt formation at his own 17 to Thomas Lambing for a 28-yard gain on their longest play from scrimmage.
The drive ultimately stalled, and back-to-back penalties cost the Trojans after a subsequent punt was touched by an opposing player and gathered by Landon Sprous in North County territory.
Cook highlighted another strong outing with a cut around the left side and 36-yard scoring scamper that gave the Raiders a 28-0 halftime cushion.
Junior quarterback Henry Allebach completed 4-of-11 passes for 56 yards as North County waited for the rain to subside before striking through the air.
Barbarotto finished with 88 yards on 11 carries, and Ashton Goad caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Allebach before the fifth extra point by Cole Mullins invoked the turbo clock.
Potosi gave just three early rushing attempts to senior J.T. Cross — all up the middle — and seven more to sophomore Noah Walton for 19 yards.
Brabham was 3-of-19 passing for 73 yards, and kept the ball eight times for 34. Carson Archer earned the third sack against him on the final snap of the first half.
Walton had a 23-yard catch in the second quarter, but Raiders freshman Noah Lashley responded with a diving interception.
Freshman linebacker Carter Pyatt jumped in front of North County receiver Zane Huff — who dropped a similar throw in open space — for the lone Potosi pick.
Brice Varner intercepted Brabham with a solid return on the next series.