CLAYTON — Northmont’s offense struggled to get in rhythm Friday night as the Thunderbolts lost their season opener at home to Dublin Coffman 17-7.
The Thunderbolts took the opening kickoff and on the second play from scrimmage Bryon Threats intercepted a Keaton Kesling pass at the Northmont 17 yard line and returned the pick to the one yard line. From there Threats scored on a one yard run. Casey Magyar kicked the point after to give the Shamrocks an early 7-0 lead.
Dublin Coffman quarterback Connor Matthews fumbled on the first play of the second quarter and defensive back Shawn Hinegardner recovered the ball at the Shamrocks’ 31 to give the Thunderbolts excellent field position. Jazz Keys came in to play quarterback and on fourth down and three kept the ball but came up just short of picking up a first down.
On their next possession the Thunderbolts shot themselves in the foot again. After driving to the Shamrocks 21 linebacker Devon Williams intercepted a Kesling pass to kill the scoring threat.
The Shamrocks got their second touchdown just before halftime. Northmont drove into Dublin Coffman territory but on fourth down and one the Thunderbolts were thrown for a loss. The Shamrocks took over at their 36 and five plays later Matthews scored a on two yard quarterback keeper. Magyar tacked on the point after to give Dublin Coffman a 14-0 halftime lead.
Magyar added a 39 yard field goal with 9.8 seconds left in the third quarter to boost the Shamrocks’ lead to 17-0.
Northmont’s lone touchdown came on a Kesling slant pass over the middle that Jazz Keys caught at the Northmont 25 and then turned on the afterburners to race past the defense for a 93 yard touchdown. Brandon Goodwin’s kick cut the deficit to 17-7 with 8:28 left in the game.
Kesling completed 17 0f 36 pass attempts for 216 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Andrew Knick blocked a Matthews punt with Northmont recovering the ball at the Shamrocks 13 with 2:49 remaining. Unfortunately the Thunderbolts couldn’t convert and from there Dublin Coffman killed the clock to walk away with the victory.
Northmont generated only 18 yards rushing on 17 carries. The Thunderbolts generated 234 yards in total offense. Dublin Coffman generated 231 total yards. Matthews completed 7 of 15 pass attempts for 67 yards with one interception and also ran the ball 11 times for 70 yards and one TD. Moussa Diallo ran the ball 25 times for 84 yards.
“Dublin Coffman has a really good defense and our defense played great too,” said Northmont coach Tony Broering. “Our defense was outstanding. We had a lot of first year players out there who played great. Coffman has a couple players on defense that are probably as good as we will see all year. Hammond Russell was very disruptive and created a lot of problems for us and Bryon Threats gave us some issues and Devon Williams, other than the interception, we handled him well.”
Dublin Coffman is ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 1 in Columbus. Next week the Thunderbolts will travel to Columbus to face another tough opponent, Pickerington North.
“They are very similar talent-wise to Coffman,” Broering noted. “They are big and fast so we don’t really have a lot of time to feel sorry four ourselves. It’s time to get back to work. We have a lot of things we need to fix and I need to do a little bit better job making sure things are right. There are a lot of good things that I saw tonight, so there are things that we can build on.”
DUB 7 7 3 0 — 17
NMT 0 0 0 7 — 07
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind