MIAMISBURG — All that stood between Northmont winning the Greater Western Ohio Conference Western Division crown was Miamisburg, a team that got off to a 5-0 start this season including a 30-13 victory over Wayne in week four.
A one point loss to Fairmont and a one point loss to division rival Lebanon set the stage for the Vikings having a chance to share the division title with Northmont. The Thunderbolts only loss of the season was a 49-20 shellacking to non-division rival Wayne in week five.
With Miamisburg having one division loss it came down to week 10 when the Vikings would have to bump off Northmont to earn a share of the division crown and a chance to keep their playoffs hopes alive.
The Thunderbolts got off to a slow start but eventually scored a solid 21-6 victory over Miamisburg to clinch the division crown outright.
Northmont wound up the No. 2 seed in Region III behind Hilliard Davidson. The Vikings loss mathematically eliminated Miamisburg from the playoffs. Northmont will host Hilliard Darby in the first round of the Division I playoffs this Friday.
Against the Vikings the Thunderbolts couldn’t seem to get their offense rolling. The game remained a scoreless deadlock at halftime.
Miamisburg got a huge break with Northmont facing a fourth down and 14 at its 31 yard line. The snap to punter Brandon Goodwin was high and sailed over Goodwin’s reach. Goodwin was able to scoop up the loose football but got tackled inside the 10 giving Miamisburg a first and goal at the nine.
Three plays later running back Zion Lewis scored on a two yard run. The extra point kick sailed wide left but the Vikings held a 6-0 lead with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter.
The Vikings’ touchdown got Northmont’s attention. After Jestin Jacobs returned the ensuing kickoff to the 20 Miles Johnson threw a short dump pass to Justin Golson who broke off an 80 yard touchdown catch and run. Goodwin’s kick put Northmont up 7-6 with 3:31 left in the third quarter.
The remainder of the quarter and for the first five minutes of the fourth both teams exchanged punts as neither was able to sustain a drive. Eventually Northmont’s offense started to assert itself.
Johnson completed a 21 yard pass to Golson to give the Thunderbolts a first down at the Vikings’ 49. On the next play running back Michael Franklin took a hand-off and raced through a huge hole in the left side of the Miamisburg defense, cut back to his right and romped 49 yards for a touchdown. Goodwin’s kick boosted Northmont’s lead to 14-6 with 6:42 remaining.
Northmont’s defense forced Miamisburg to punt and the Thunderbolts took over at their own 27. Franklin ripped off an 18 yard gain for a first down at the 45. Jestin Jacobs picked up eight yards for a second down and two at Miamisburg’s 47. Franklin broke off another big run for 28 yards to the 19.
On fourth down and one at the Vikings’ 10 yard line Jacobs took a hand-off and dove over the top of the Miamisburg defensive line for a first and goal at the eight. From there Franklin scored on an eight yard run and Goodwin’s kick gave Northmont a 21-6 lead with 3:14 left.
“It was a hard fought game,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “They are a very good football team. We knew it was going to be a championship caliber game. Miamisburg beat Wayne this year, so they are really good. Coach Channel does a great job so we knew it was going to be tough.”
Broering credited his staff for making some adjustments at halftime to get the offense rolling.
“The defense played great all night. I mean they were just fantastic,” Broering said. “It was great team defense the whole night and the offensive coaches did some great things at halftime. They rallied together and pumped the boys up. They saw some things in the first half that they thought they could exploit and did a great job making the adjustments needed to do that.”
Franklin, who carried the ball 13 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, earned high praise from his coach.
“Michael Franklin is a great kid, like I’ve said many, many times,” Broering added. “Besides how good he is at football he is an even better person. He is the kind of boy that you want to be your son or marry your daughter. He deserves a lot of the credit for our win. He did some amazing things tonight and our offensive line blocked great for him.”
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind