Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th. What became evident Friday the 13th at Hutchinson Field was Drakonophobia (fear of dragons) as Pittsburg dominated Independence 43-0 in a Southeast Kansas League contest. “All eight quarters we've played this year, I've been very happy with our defensive intensity,” Pittsburg head coach Tom Nickelson said. “We still have a lot of alignment errors and things to clean up but man, their intensity is really good and they're flying to the ball and when they get there, they're tackling and for the most part wrapping up. They're trying to hit, they're trying to get there, strip the ball, create turnovers. “It is a much more aggressive defense and defensive philosophy than we've had in the past. The secondary allows the front seven to be a lot more aggressive because we have a nice athletic secondary that can cover up a lot of mistakes. We ask our front seven to just go hard, see ball, get ball and just make plays and our secondary guys to cover up any mistakes that happen.” Independence had 59 yards of total offense, 60 penalty yards at halftime. The Bulldogs finished with 87 total yards and the Pittsburg defense limited explosive running back Courtlan Hayes with 45 yards on 20 carries and 21 yards on two catches. Independence punted away its first three drives of the game and stalled out on fourth down its final three, all in the second half. Pittsburg seemed possessed by a desire to not allow Independence into the end zone. Micah Hashman intercepted one pass in the end zone. “Absolutely,” Nickelson said. “Every time. Our defense was upset when we gave up the shutout on a safety (last week against Labette County). They want shutouts. Pittsburg High has always been known for defense and they want to get that back to being a defensive-minded, physical, hard-nosed, good tackling, good fundamental football team.” After a three-and-out on the first possession of the game, Pittsburg scored touchdowns on five of its next six possessions to build a 37-0 halftime lead. “It was very good,” Nickelson said of the run game. “We spread it around among all three — quarterback, tailback, fullback. We tried to get the wideouts mixed in a little bit. We've got a lot of kids who can do something with the ball in their hands and all of them showed it tonight . . . all three of them boys in the backfield can run hard and we need to run lower, tougher, better ball security and we continue to put the ball on the ground too many times.” Alex Barnes (tailback) gained 146 yards and scored two TDs on 15 carries, Riley Cunningham (quarterback) 51 yards and one TD on 15 carries and Ryan McNeely (fullback) 31 yards and two TDs on seven carries. The Dragon attack generated 266 rushing yards and 345 yards of total offense. Cunningham hit fellow senior K.J. Shaw on a 20-yard touchdown pass. Pittsburg (2-0, 2-0 SEK) takes on rival Fort Scott next Friday at Frary Field. PURPLE DRAGONS 43, BULLDOGS 0 INDY 0 0 0 0 — 0 PHS 14 23 0 6 — 43 SCORING SUMMARY PHS — Alex Barnes 60 run (Nick Powers kick) 7:14 1Q PHS — Ryan McNeely 2 run (Powers kick) 18.1 1Q PHS — Safety 7:02 2Q PHS — Barnes 15 run (Powers kick) 6:26 2Q PHS — K.J. Shaw 20 pass from Riley Cunningham (Powers kick) 6:10 2Q PHS — Cunningham 10 run (Powers kick) 3:18 2Q PHS — McNeely 2 run (kick failed) 11:45 4Q TEAM STATISTICS INDY PHS First downs 7 14 Rushing yds. 33 266 Passing 9-21-2 4-6-0 Passing yds. 54 79 Total offense 87 345 Penalties-yds. 8-65 10-65 Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING — INDY, Courtlan Hayes 20-45, Chris Jones 2-3, TEAM 1-(-5), Chase Berry 4-(-10). PHS, Alex Barnes 15-146, Riley Cunningham 15-51, Ryan McNeely 7-31, Dante Menghini 2-18, Sherrick Rogers 2-14, Spencer Turnbull 1-6, Ethan Paul-Davis 1-0. PASSING — INDY, Berry 9-21-54-0-2. PHS, Cunningham 4-6-79-1-0. RECEIVING — INDY, Kyle Rinck 3-13, Hayes 2-21, Marques Johnson 2-9, Cody Sears 1-7, James 1-4. PHS, Barnes 1-39, K.J. Shaw 1-20, Paul-Davis 1-13, McNeely 1-7.