CLAYTON — Northmont’s offense struggled to get in rhythm as the Thunderbolts lost their season opener at home to Dublin Coffman 17-7.
The Thunderbolt’s lone touchdown came on a slant pass over the middle from Keaton Kesling to Jazz Keys. Keys caught the ball 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.
Northmont bounced back from an opening game defeat to score a 37-17 victory at Pickerington North. Quarterback Keaton Kesling completed 21 of 43 passes for 352 with four touchdowns and one interception. Defensive back Rod Moore picked off three passes against the Panthers to help lead the defensive effort.
Junior wide receiver Markus Allen had a breakout game in week three on Hall of Fame Night with four receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns to help lead Northmont to a 28-14 victory over Fairmont. Senior quarterback Keaton Kesling was solid completing 15 of 18 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
Northmont’s offense misfired early in the game at Springfield in week four 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. 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. 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.
When you let dangerous teams hang around too long bad things happen. Northmont did just that in week five in a disappointing 20-14 loss at Trotwood-Madison. Northmont had rallied from a six point deficit to take the lead on a 29 yard touchdown pass from Keaton Kesling to Justin Golson to open the fourth quarter. Brandon Goodwin’s point after gave Northmont a 14-13 lead.
Trotwood took over on downs at its own six yard line with 1:06 remaining and drove 94 yards in seven plays for the winning score capped by a seven yard run by quarterback Keon’tae Huguely. Carter Mims kick made the final tally 20-14 in favor of the Rams.
Springboro remained undefeated by rolling to its sixth straight victory 27-21 against Northmont. With the victory Springboro improved to 2-0 in conference play and 6-0 overall while Northmont fell to 0-2 and 2-4. The Thunderbolts trailed 27-7 but stormed back late in the game. Kesling tossed a 26 yard TD pass to Markus Allen and then hit Allen for a 47 yard score with 1:20 remaining.
The Panthers’ Brock Bernard intercepted a pass to end the game as Springboro escaped with a six point victory. Kesling completed 20 of 41 pass attempts for 228 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
After three straight losses Northmont got back in the win column with a 49-26 rout over Lebanon. Northmont improved to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play while Lebanon fell to 3-4 and 0-2. Kesling completed 22 of 35 pass attempts for 371 yards and four touchdowns. Allen caught eight passes for 155 yards and one TD while Keys had seven receptions for 99 yards and two touchdowns and Darris Blanks hauled in two passes for 52 yards and one TD to lead the receiver corps.
In week eight Northmont racked up 452 yards while limiting Miamisburg to 154 yards during a lopsided 41-7 victory. Kesling completed 26 of 32 pass attempts for 343 yards and three TDs. Allen caught eight passes for 148 yards and one TD.
The ninth game of the season between Northmont and Centerville featured the top two quarterbacks in the Greater Western Ohio Conference in a key game to determine the fate of the Thunderbolts in their quest to earn a playoff berth.
Northmont quarterback Keaton Kesling, the GWOC’s top passer with 2,466 yards, came through with a big game completing 16 of 28 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Centerville quarterback Chase Harrison, the GWOC’s No. 2 passer with 2,226 yards, completed 23 of 37 pass attempts for 228 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Northmont came out on top 34-20 to improve to 5-4 overall while the Elks fell to 4-5.
In the final game of the regular season Northmont earned a playoff berth with a narrow 28-27 victory at Wayne. The Thunderbolts led 21-7 at halftime but the Warriors fought back with a strong effort to make the game a nail biter. Kesling completed 20 of 34 pass attempts for 314 yards and three touchdowns.
Northmont’s passing attack took an early toll on Toledo Whitmer during the Division I, Region II regional quarterfinal playoff game at Whitmer High School.
In the end the Panthers running attack was too much to handle as Whitmer rolled to a 35-21 victory. The Panthers gained 337 yards rushing and 435 overall while Northmont amassed 225 total yards with 211 coming on passes.
Northmont senior quarterback Keaton Kesling concluded an impressive season with 206 completions on 370 pass attempts for 2,991 yards with 33 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Junior wide receiver Markus Allen caught 51 passes for 1,087 yards with 15 touchdowns. Senior Jazz Keys caught 62 passes for 843 yards and nine touchdowns. Senior Justin Golson hauled in 49 passes for 681 yards and five touchdowns.
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email at Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind