SPRINGFIELD — Northmont’s offense misfired early in the game at Springfield and the Wildcats took an early 7-0 lead on a two yard run by Tavion Smoot.
The Thunderbolts rallied to take a 17-14 lead but Springfield answered with a pair of long touchdowns late in the game to hand Northmont its second loss of the season, 28-17.
“Springfield is very good and they have a very good receiver (Larry Stephens, six receptions for 112 yards and one TD) who is a Division I player headed to Toledo and rightfully so. He is dynamic,” said Northmont coach Tony Broering. “We came out so off. We just weren’t clicking on offense at the beginning. We had our chances in the first half but we just didn’t take advantage of it and didn’t play very well the entire first half.”
Northmont got a 29 yard field goal from Brandon Goodwin with six seconds left in the first quarter to cut Springfield’s lead to 7-3. The Wildcats countered with a 36 yard touchdown pass by Te’Sean Smoot to Larry Stephens at the 9:01 mark in the second quarter to lead 14-3 at halftime.
The Thunderbolts finally got its offense going in the third quarter. Faced with a fourth down and two at its own 47 Northmont went for the first down and converted on a short pass by Keaton Kesling to running back Michael Franklin for a first down at the Wildcats’ 49. After a pass interference call Kesling hit Justin Golson on a slant pass that went 34 yards for the Thunderbolts’ first touchdown of the night. Brandon Goodwin’s kick was good to cut the deficit to 14-10.
Northmont forced Springfield to punt with the kick going out of bounds at the 21 yard line. Dayveon Bates intercepted a Kesling pass but Springfield was called for pass interference to set up a first down at the 35. Two consecutive passes to Golson gave the Thunderbolts a first down at the Wildcats’ 48.
After a one yard loss on a running play Kesling hit Jazz Keys for a 49 yard touchdown with 11:20 remaining in the game. Goodwin’s kick put Northmont on top 17-14, but the celebration was short lived.
Less than two minutes later Smoot tossed a 56 yard touchdown pass to Jalen Minney and with 2:05 left running back Tavion Smoot rumbled down the left sideline for a 68 yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach, 28-17.
Smoot led the ‘Cats with 138 rushing yards and two TDs on 20 carries. Brother Te’Sean Smoot completed 12 of 20 passes for 250 yards and two TDs.
Kesling completed 23 of 49 passes for 244 yards with two TDs and one interception. He also ran the ball eight times for 57 yards. Michael Franklin carried the ball 15 times for 55 yards. Jazz Keys led Northmont with eight pass receptions for 104 yards and one TD. Justin Golson had six receptions for 97 yards and one TD.
Overall Springfield amassed 464 total yards to Northmont’s 365.
“We came out and played a lot better in the third quarter,” Broering added. “We made some adjustments and the kids played great. They really came out and responded, but Stephens made some big plays for Springfield.”
Next week the Thunderbolts travel to Trotwood to face the Rams (3-1), who scored a 24-15 victory Friday over Fairmont.
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind