CLAYTON — Springfield jumped out to a 14-0 lead Friday at Northmont’s homecoming game but the Thunderbolts reeled off 23 unanswered points to go up 23-14 early in the second half.
Unfortunately Northmont turned the ball over too many times in critical situations. The Thunderbolts lost one fumble and had three passes intercepted. Springfield also turned the ball over three times with a fumble and two pass interceptions. The Wildcats capitalized on Northmont’s miscues and went on to post a 35-29 come from behind victory.
“The truth is, when you turn the ball over like that you aren’t going to win any games in the Greater Western Ohio Conference,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “This is a tough conference and when you play Wayne, Centerville and Springfield and you turn the ball over three or four times you can’t overcome that. It’s impossible. We tried. I mean we were down 14 and came back, went down again and came back but you just can’t turn the ball over like that.”
The Wildcats opened the game with a 12 play, 80 yard drive that culminated in a 19 yard touchdown pass from Leonard Taylor to Shane Ramey. A senior tailback, Ramey punched holes in the Northmont defense all night finishing the game with 185 yards rushing and one touchdown in addition to his 19 yard TD reception.
Springfield got the ball back when Jaherinn Echols picked off a pass on the Thunderbolts’ first play from scrimmage to give the Wildcats the ball at the Northmont 38. On the very next play Daniel Davis tossed a halfback option pass to Niko Jones for a 38 yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
“The halfback pass was a good call by them,” Broering noted. “They caught us on that. The rest of it was isolation. There is no trick to it. We did a great job taking Davis out of the game and that was our goal. I thought our defensive coaches had a good game plan to contain Davis. He is the best player in the league,so we did a good job on him, but they have other players too and those kids stepped up and played well.”
Like a heavyweight boxer on the ropes the Thunderbolts came out swinging and quickly cut the deficit to seven points. After the kickoff return and one running play that resulted in a face mask call against the ‘Cats, quarterback Brenden Reck launched a 60 yard touchdown strike to Jabari Perkins with 5:01 remaining in the opening quarter. Nick Winchester’s kick cut Springfield’s lead to 14-7.
Logan Jewsikow forced a fumble on the Wildcats’ next possession with Gabe Newburg recovering the ball at the Northmont 41. The Thunderbolts drove to the Springfield 18 and from there Winchester kicked a 35 yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14-10 with 17 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Thunderbolts took the lead with 3:10 remaining in the first half. Reck found Drake Hickman in the right side of the end zone to put Northmont up 16-14 at the half.
With the momentum swing the Thunderbolts opened the second half right where they left off in the first half. Dominic Wilson returned the second half kickoff 78 yards to give Northmont a first down at Springfield’s 12 yard line. Four plays later Devin Kenerly scored on a three yard run and Winchester’s point after boosted Northmont’s lead to 23-14.
The Wildcats bounced back with a six play, 80 yard drive highlighted by a 31 yard run by Ramey to give Springfield a first and goal at the Northmont one yard line. From there Taylor scored on a quarterback keeper. Kyle Carey’s point after cut the Thunderbolts’ lead to 23-21.
Dominic Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the 50 and a penalty on the return by the Wildcats gave Northmont excellent field position at the Wildcats’ 35. The Thunderbolts drove to the five yard line and on fourth down passed up a field goal attempt and opted to go for a touchdown. Drake Hickman was wide open in the left front side of the end zone but Reck misfired and threw the ball behind Hickman as the Wildcats took over on downs.
Springfield took full advantage of that miscue to mount a seven play, 95 yard drive. Davis reeled off back-to-back runs of 18 and 30 yards to give the Wildcats a first down at the Northmont 28. A penalty moved the ball to the 14 and Ramey bulled his way to the two. Taylor kept the ball on the next play for a touchdown and Carey’s point after put Springfield back on top 28-23.
The Wildcats got the ball right away when Ramey picked off a pass at the Northmont 28 and returned it to the three yard line. Ramey then took the hand off on the Wildcats’ next two offensive play to score a four yard touchdown and Carey’s kick bolstered Springfield’s lead to 35-23 one second into the fourth quarter.
Northmont responded with a five play, 68 yard drive that would prove to be the final scoring drive of the night. Reck completed a 37 yard pass to Kameron Mathis to give the Thunderbolts a first down at the Wildcats’ 30. Two plays later Reck tossed his third touchdown of the game 30 yards to Jabari Perkins to cut Springfield’s lead to 35-29.
Northmont coughed the ball up on a fumble on its next possession and Quincy Scott intercepted a pass at the goal line to kill the Thunderbolt’s final drive with less than 40 seconds left in the game.
With the victory Springfield improved to 5-2 overall to remain in second place in the National East division behind 6-0 Wayne. Northmont fell to 3-4 overall to stay in last place in the National West division behind Lebanon (6-1), Springboro (5-2) and Miamisburg (5-2).
Next Friday the Thunderbolts will travel to Centerville to face the 2-5 Elks, who are currently in last place in the National East.
Jabari Perkins looks for an opening during a kickoff return against Springfield.
Danny Davis hauls in a pass from Leonard Taylor to give the Wildcats a first down inside the Northmont 20 yard line.
Northmont defensive back Danny Lewis squares up to make a tackle on Springfield tailback Brymar Payne.
Kelynn Taylor races down the sideline for a big gain against the Wildcats.
Devin Kenerly plows through the Springfield defense Friday during Northmont’s homecoming loss.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind