By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
Let’s be honest here – it’s not every day that you hear a high school football coach invoke the name of a 16th century French astrologer and seer after a 35-8 win.
But after his Northwood Falcons got off to a slow start Thursday night – and that’s being generous – head coach Austin Brown went deep into the Renaissance playbook.
“I’m not saying I’m Nostradamus,” Brown said after the Falcons (4-4, 4-1 in District 1-4A) defeated Booker T. Washington (3-5, 1-4) at Jerry Burton Stadium, “but we predicted this and told the kids all week this was going to happen.”
The Falcons fumbled the snap on their first play of scrimmage to give the Lions the ball on the Northwood 42 and BTW proceed to drive the ball down the field and score on a 24-yard pass on fourth down from Damion O’Neal to Von’Travious Moore to make it 8-0.
It didn’t get much better for the Northwood for a while. There was a drive that went nowhere, a roughing the passer penalty and a fumbled punt as it seemed like the Falcons couldn’t get out of their own way.
So when Northwood held on fourth down on its own 15, you wondered what was going to go wrong next.
Answer – nothing.
The Falcons went on a 13-play, 85-yard drive that was keyed by a decision to go for it on fourth-and-one at the Northwood 24. Quarterback Hutson Hearron got the first down and the Falcons had finally shifted into gear. Tomarcus Keith scored on a 9-yard run with 1:31 to go before half to put Northwood on the board.
But they weren’t done yet. After three incompletions and a punt by BTW, Northwood got the ball back at the 50 and got another score within 15 seconds remaining before half on a 28-yard pass from Hearron to Elijah Crawford to take a 14-8 lead into the locker room.
“We just got punched in the mouth,” Brown said. “We just needed the realization that this wasn’t a walk-through. If they didn’t believe me before, they believe me now.”
Northwood spent most of the second half either fumbling (twice) or scoring touchdowns (thrice).
Keith had a 1-yard run to open the second half, followed by a tear-drop 23-yard touchdown pass from Hearron to Tucker McCabe in the back of the end zone and a 1-yard scoring run by sophomore Kyran Johnson.
Hearron completed 9 of 14 for 101 yards and two touchdowns with McCabe catching four for 55 yards. Running backs Keith (62 yards) and Johnson (60) led the ground attack for the Falcons.
BTW coach Gary Cooper may have offered some intel on the Falcons, since he and defensive coordinator Josh Jones are former Northwood assistants.
“We are progressive,” Cooper said. “We are playing hard and our kids are getting better every week. We just have to put it together for a full game. We had a great first half, and then we kind of fell apart.”
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NORTHWOOD 35, BTW 8
BTW 8 0 0 0 — 8
NW 0 14 21 0 –35
BTW — Von’Travious Moore 24 pass from Damion O’Neal (O’Neal run)
NW — Tomarcus Keith 9 run (Alex Williams kick)
NW — Elijah Crawford 28 pass from Hutson Hearron (Williams kick)
NW – Keith 1 run (Williams kick)
NW – Tucker McCabe 23 pass from Hearron (Williams kick)
NW – Kyron Johnson 1 run (Williams kick)
RUSHING – BTW (24-minus-9), Andrew Houston 5-8, Frank Gafford 1-4, Isaiah Cotton 2-minus-3, O’Neal 14-minus-18. NW (44-170), Keith 14-62-2TD, Johnson 12-60-1TD, Hearron 5-21, Desmond Harris 3-14, John Sneed 3-14, Crawford 1-9, Cayleb Armstrong 3-8, Jaxon Bentzler 2-minus-23, Team 1-minus-10.
PASSSING – BTW, O’Neal 7-19-2, 77 yards. NW, Hearron 9-14-0, 101, 2TDs, Bentzler 0-1.
RECEIVING – BTW, Dakerion Mitchell 3-36, Brian French 2-10, Moore 1-24-1TD, Houston 1-7. NW, McCabe 4-55, Jalil Wainwright 2-15, Crawford 2-23, Harris 1-8.