Northwest Area’s second-half surge leads to 45-12 win
SHICKSHINNY – There is still 70 percent of the regular season remaining. And while improvements can no doubt be made, particularly on special teams after Saturday, and the schedule will get tougher, especially toward the end of the season, through three games, Northwest is rolling.
After winning their first two games by a combined score of 113-33, the Rangers continued to rack up the offense on Saturday night, as they opened up what was a close game by scoring 28 points in the second half to defeat Towanda 45-12.
“I’ve been saying all year that we need to earn our respect and I think that was something we earned tonight and people need to take Northwest seriously,” said Northwest coach Carl Majer. “We’ve got a lot of weapons, and that’s with four of our studs not playing. We made too many mistakes in the first half so we’ve got to work on those, little things, but we’ll take 3-0.”
The biggest reason for that 3-0 start has been quarterback Carter Hontz. The senior signal caller continued his strong start to the season as he compiled 316 yards of total offense and was responsible for four touchdowns, throwing and rushing for two scores each. He completed 7-of-19 passes for 214 yards and ran for 102 yards on 14 carries. This followed a game in which he threw for over 300 yards and was responsible for seven touchdowns last week against CMVT.
His first touchdown came less than a minute into the game, as a miscommunication on the opening kickoff by Towanda allowed Northwest to race down the field and cover the football before it could be secured by the Black Knights. Two plays later, Hontz raced into the end zone from 10 yards to put the Rangers up 7-0.
The Rangers then had some special teams trouble of their own, as they muffed two punts to give the ball back to Towanda twice in the first quarter. But Northwest’s defense came up big and did not allow the Black Knights to capitalize on either miscue. Andrew Bonczewski came up with an interception in the end zone on one of those ensuing drives following the muffed punt to keep Towanda off the scoreboard.
“The defense played hard-nosed. I told them ‘don’t break, but bend,’ and we saw how they reacted to a little adversity because we haven’t really had any yet this year,” said Majer. “They responded great.”
The Northwest defense also stopped Towanda on downs at the Northwest 5-yard line on the first play of the second quarter on the Black Knights’ ensuing drive following the Rangers’ second muffed punt. From there, Northwest took over and proceeded to go 95 yards in nine plays, capped by Hontz’s second rushing touchdown of the night, this one from 37 yards to take a 14-0 lead.
“That’s what kind of happens in situations like that, they got the momentum and we have to be able to finish in those types of situations and keep the momentum,” said Towanda coach Craig Dawsey. “Games like these, once the other team gets the momentum, it’s kind of hard to stop. They’re a good football team. We just need to work on finishing and doing fundamentals. That’s the name of the game. It’s not about play calls and all that stuff. It’s about fundamentals.”
Northwest tacked on a field goal near the end of the half as Matt Foley split the uprights from 22 yards out to make it a 17-0 lead at the half.
Another special teams miscue by Northwest allowed Towanda to block a punt on Northwest’s first drive of the second half, and Varius Farrell recovered his own block in the end zone for a touchdown, which after the PAT hit the right upright and missed, made it 17-6 early in the third quarter.
But Northwest answered almost right away, as, on the first play of its subsequent drive, Hontz hit Derek Dietz for a 90-yard touchdown as Dietz outsprinted the Towanda secondary down the field and Northwest retook its three-possession lead just :13 after the Black Knights had scored.
Another big play, this one a 50-yard touchdown run by Jacob Bobersky, burst the game open and made it 31-6 with just over a minute to go in the third quarter.
After a Towanda three-and-out, Hontz and Dietz connected again for another long touchdown reception, this one for 57 yards to make it 38-6 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
Bobersky capped the scoring for Northwest with a short five-yard touchdown run, which closed another lengthy scoring drive that took over five minutes for the Rangers and put the game into the mercy rule late in the fourth quarter. With the help of his earlier long touchdown run, Bobersky also surpassed the century mark for rushing, going for 104 yards on 16 carries.
Towanda tacked on a late touchdown with its second team in the game, as Riley Sluyter connected with Zach Parker for an 80-yard touchdown pass with 2:56 left in the game.
Northwest 45, Towanda 12
Towanda (1-2) 0 0 6 7 – 12
Northwest (3-0) 7 10 14 14 – 45
11:28 – (N) Carter Hontz 10-yard run (Lepore kick), 2-22, :32
7:49 – (N) Carter Hontz 37-yard run (Foley kick), 9-95, 4:08
:36 – (N) Matt Foley 22-yard field goal, 10-48, 4:29
10:34 – (T) Varius Farrell blocked punt recovery in end zone (kick failed)
10:21 – (N) Derek Dietz 90-yard pass from Carter Hontz (Foley kick), 1-90, :13
1:01 – (N) Jacob Bobersky 50-yard run (Foley kick), 3-69, 1:15
10:41 – (N) Derek Dietz 57-yard pass from Carter Hontz (Foley kick), 3-52, 1:19
4:18 – (N) Jacob Bobersky 5-yard run (Foley kick), 10-59, 5:10
2:56 – (T) Zach Parker 80-yard pass from Riley Sluyter (pass failed), 3-79, 1:22
First downs 10 18
Rushes-net yards 30-24 34-225
Passing yardage 139 214
Passing 8-21-1-1 7-19-2-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-yards 4-50 9-60
RUSHING — Towanda: Riley Vanderpool (14-39), Grady Flynn (9-(-31)), Quintin Woodburn (4-18), Jace Gunther (2-(-1)), TEAM (1-(-1)); Northwest: Jacob Bobersky (16-104-2), Carter Hontz (14-102-2), Nicholas Stevens (3-22), Derek Dietz (1-(-3))
PASSING — Towanda: Grady Flynn (7-20-59-0-1), Riley Sluyter (1-1-80-1-0); Northwest: Carter Hontz (7-19-214-2-1)
RECEIVING — Towanda: Elias Shrawder (3-27), Quintin Woodburn (2-16), Zach Parker (1-80-1), Riley Vanderpool (1-11), Justin Schoonover (1-5); Northwest: Thomas Bierly (3-44), Derek Dietz (2-147-2), Jacob Bobersky (1-18), Adam Chonko (1-5)
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