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Northwest Area wins second straight, drops Montgomery 21-10

Written by: on Saturday, September 19th, 2020. Follow Matt Beltz on Twitter.


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MONTGOMERY – Turnovers are never a good thing. But given a choice, it would always be preferable to start a game with a turnover or two rather than end a game with one.

For Northwest, that is now how they’ve started two straight games to begin the season. A week after committing a pair of first half turnovers against Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech – but not giving up any points as a result of them – the Rangers committed another pair of turnovers in the first quarter alone at Montgomery, and this time gave up some points due to them.

But much like it did last week against the Rams, the Rangers recovered and this week scored a pair of second half touchdowns while holding Montgomery scoreless in the second half and the Rangers improved to 2-0 with a 21-10 win over the Red Raiders.

“We didn’t play very well in the first quarter and really the entire first half,” said Northwest coach Lon Hazlet. “It’s a different game right now with no fans and no one to come watch you. You have to sort of generate your own energy and we haven’t done that in the last two weeks out of the gate.”

Northwest overcame a 245-yard passing performance by Logan Almeida, who completed 31-of-48 passes without an interception. But Montgomery had just 19 rushing yards.

“I was very proud of our kids because this team dominated us 10 months ago,” said Montgomery coach Paul Bozella. “We turned the tables on them in the first two quarters. I was very proud of our offense. Almeida was a general tonight and everybody contributed. When we last played them, they shut down our running game and they bait us into passing so that was our game plan to stretch the field horizontally and open up the box a little bit. Their front was good and it was tough for us to run on them.”

The Rangers were able to stop the Red Raiders following their first fumble in the first quarter, but weren’t able to stop them twice after they again coughed it up on their own 26 late in the first quarter, and Montgomery was able to capitalize with a 25-yard touchdown reception by Maurice Walters, which came on a short forward pitch. Walters ran into a Northwest wall on the left side after receiving the pitch, before reversing field and going around the right side and into the end zone for the touchdown.

The Red Raiders then took a 10-0 lead on their next drive when Gabe McNear kicked a 22-yard field goal, which capped a 60-yard drive that took over five minutes, but was stalled inside the 10.

While turnovers hurt the Rangers early, it was a turnover that shifted the momentum to Northwest late in the first half. On Montgomery’s next drive following its field goal, Kaide Drick fumbled on his own 20-yard line, and the ball was recovered by Northwest at the Montgomery 7-yard line with 2:31 left in the half. Three plays later, Ryan Wassel rolled out to his left and found Chase Biller in the corner of the end zone with 1:10 left in the half to cut the lead to 10-7 heading into halftime.

“We made a mistake there (on the turnover) and we’re still young enough where that’s going to weigh in our minds a little bit,” said Bozella. “I challenged them at halftime to forget about it. We answered them every time (in the second half) when they got the momentum and went down the field but we just never finished it.”

In the second half, Northwest amassed 145 of their 217 rushing yards in the second half as a steady diet of George May eventually got to the Red Raiders. May went over the century mark for the second straight week as he finished with 108 rushing yards on 21 carries, including 62 in the second half.

But just as much a story as the Rangers’ second-half running game and better ball security in the second half was Northwest’s second half defense, which held Montgomery scoreless. Montgomery advanced the ball into Northwest territory on all four of its second half drives, including all the way to the 14-yard line in one drive. But in all four drives, which together produced 167 yards of Montgomery’s 264 yards on the night, Northwest stopped the Red Raiders – three times on downs and one punt.

“We did a good job of keeping (the passes) underneath,” said Hazlet. “We didn’t give up the big play and you don’t like to give up those chunks but at the same time we were able to keep things in front. We have two freshmen corners so we have a lot to learn but they did well tonight.”

“At the end, them running downhill and chewing up the clock and them going to a prevent defense made it tough for us to capitalize in the red zone,” said Bozella.

Northwest received the second half kickoff, got a nice 28-yard return from Carter Hontz, and put together a sustained, 10-play drive that culminated with a 16-yard touchdown from Wassel to Landon Hufford in the back of the end zone, with two Montgomery defenders on him. A big 53-yard run by Wassel was the key play of that drive.

After the Rangers forced Montgomery to punt, they took over at their own-yard line and proceeded to advance the ball 95 yards in eight plays, capped by a May 10-yard run to go up 21-10.

Northwest 21, Montgomery 10
Northwest (2-0)          0   7  14  0 – 21
Montgomery (1-1)      7   3   0   0 – 10

First quarter
1:41 – (M) Maurice Walters 25-yard pass from Logan Almeida (McNear kick), 3-26, 1:18

Second quarter
6:01 – (M) Gabe McNear 22-yard field goal, 13-60, 5:10
1:10 – (N) Chase Biller 4-yard pass from Ryan Wassel (Foley kick), 3-7, 1:21

Third quarter
7:12 – (N) Landon Hufford 16-yard pass from Ryan Wassel (Foley kick), 10-57, 4:48
2:17 – (N) George May 10-yard run (Foley kick), 8-95, 3:43

                                                       N                       M   
First downs                                    13                       18
Rushes-net yards                        42-217               16-19
Passing yardage                            44                      245
Passing                                     6-10-2-0             31-48-1-0
Fumbles-lost                                  3-2                     3-1
Penalties-yards                             8-61                   7-73

RUSHING: Northwest: George May (21-108-1), Landon Hufford (10-32), Ryan Wassel (7-60), Carter Hontz (4-17), TEAM (1-(-1)); Montgomery: Kaide Drick (11-11), Logan Almeida (4-(-8)), Colby Springman (1-16)
PASSING: Northwest: Ryan Wassel (4-7-28-2-0), Carter Hontz (2-3-16-0-0; Montgomery: Logan Almeida (31-48-245-1-0)
RECEIVING: Northwest: Landon Hufford (3-26-1), Chase Biller (2-10-1), Jordan Lindbuchler (1-8); Montgomery: Coltin Hans (8-51), Colby Springman (7-56), Kaide Drick (7-54), Maurice Walters (5-61-1) Ben Marino (3-13), Logan Pick (1-10)

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