CENTERVILLE — The Centerville Elks are still in search of their first victory after suffering a 35-20 loss Friday to surging Northmont, winners of three straight and seven of eight games.
The Thunderbolts put the game away early with four first quarter touchdowns, three in the air and one on the ground to take a 28-0 lead. Northmont’s passing attack moved the ball down field and capped the Thunderbolts opening drive with Miles Johnson tossing a 21 yard touchdown pass to Justin Golson, who finished the night with 10 pass receptions for 187 yards and three touchdowns.
On the next possession Jestin Jacobs ran for a 70 yard touchdown and Brandon Goodwin’s kick put Northmont up 14-0 with 4:29 left in the opening quarter.
Aidan Reaman recovered an Elks fumble at the Centerville 41 yard line. On first down Johnson, who completed 19 of 23 passes for 287 yards with four touchdowns and one interception, hit Golson for a 41 yard touchdown pass. Goodwin’s kick made it 21-0.
Northmont’s next possession saw Johnson cap an 81 yard drive by tossing a 27 yard touchdown pass to Drake Hickman. Goodwin’s kick boosted the lead to 28-0 with seven seconds left in the first quarter and the game was all but over.
Corey Burnette returned a short kickoff 29 yards to midfield to give the Elks excellent field position. Four plays later Chase Harrison tossed a 27 yard touchdown pass to J.R. Melzer with 10:02 left in the first half and Brandon Walters kick cut Northmont’s lead to 28-7.
The Elks attempted an onside kick but Northmont came up with ball at its own 45. Johnson threw a pass to Golson to give the Thunderbolts an apparent first down at the Elks’ 19 but a penalty nullified the play. A second penalty flag was thrown against Northmont Coach Tony Broering on the same play to give the Bolts a first down and 42 at their own 13.
Johnson wasted no time digging out of that hole. Pass completions to Jazz Keys, Jason Kohr and Keaton Kesling gave Northmont a first down at the Elks 32 and from there Johnson tossed a 32 yard touchdown pass to Golson. Goodwin’s kick made it 35-7 with 7:56 left in the second quarter, a score that would stand at the half.
“The first half we played really well,” Broering said. “I was proud of the boys. They came out and played great. We wanted to get our starters out in the second half. We took Miles (Johnson) out because we still have a lot of football left to play this season, so we really wanted to get another score and keep that clock running and go home. The weather was tough but the boys played great in the first half. It was my fault that we lost our focus in the second half. We were telling them to come on, but they could sense it and they let down a little bit and Centerville fought back to make it a game.”
Northmont’s offense went into hibernation in the second half during a miserably chilly, rain swept night while the Elks came back for two more scores. Bryce McMahon scored a one yard touchdown run and Nick Meade caught an 11 yard pass from Harrison. A two point conversion failed on the Elks last touchdown to make the final tally 35-20.
With Lebanon pulling off a 13-12 upset of Miamisburg on Thursday the Thunderbolts are now in sole possession of first place in the National West Division in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Next Friday the Thunderbolts (7-1, 1-0) play their final home game of the regular season when they host Springboro (4-4, 0-1) before traveling to Miamisburg (6-2, 1-1) for the final game of the regular season on Oct. 26.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind