HUBER HEIGHTS — Northmont brings its 3-1 record into Wayne’s Good Samaritan Field / Heidkamp Stadium this Friday to challenge former conference foe, Wayne (3-0-1). Northmont has been winning games with defense, allowing an average of 14 points per game, while also allowing an average of 227 total yards.
Northmont gives up an average of 89 yards rushing and an average of 138 through the air. They have 11 sacks on the year and only Fairfield has broken the 200-yard mark passing and the 100-yard mark rushing.
Wayne dispatched of Miamisburg last week with a late rally to run away with the game. The Vikings came into the game against Wayne having averaged 48 points and giving up a total of 13 points over three games.
The Viking offense ran off of their huge Ohio State recruit Josh Myers at tackle and found some success and had a few big plays in the passing game. Wayne’s defense stood the test however, as they only let Miamisburg in the end zone twice.
When Wayne has the ball
It’s going to be the unstoppable force versus the immovable object when Wayne has the ball. Northmont’s strength on defense is its front seven. Its front seven has kept its opponents’ offenses in check. The Thunderbolts have kept three of their opponents under what Wayne running back Fred Pitts averages per game.
Northmont also likes to get after the quarterback. The Warrior line as done a great job of protecting quarterback Rashad McKee, but the strong running game is his best friend.
Wayne’s offense is driven by its offensive line. The Warrior’s offensive line has allowed Wayne to average over 240 yards per game. Most of those yards come in the second half after they start to wear teams down.
Wayne also keeps its backs fresh. It features a one-two punch of Fred Pitts and Josh Foster. Both running backs get up north quickly and into the next level. Once they get to the next level, they are hard to bring down.
The Thunderbolts have not faced a team of playmakers like Wayne yet. Miamisburg found out last week that stopping everything Wayne can throw at you is quite a task.
Vikings head coach Steve Channell agreed, “They (Wayne) have a lot of weapons. You can’t stop them all. They are going to win a lot of games.”
Wayne will want to put pressure on the Thunderbolt front seven by establishing the run and hit the Thunderbolt with quick strikes to its playmakers. The Bolts defense will definitely have to be stout up front and sustain it for 48 minutes.
When Northmont has the ball
The only time Northmont has run the ball more than passing the ball is in their loss to Fairfield in week two. Northmont wants to establish the run. They will even take senior quarterback Brenden Reck out and put a receiver in at quarterback just to the run the ball.
The Northmont passing attack isn’t overly attractive, but it’s capable. The first two weeks Reck was susceptible to interceptions, but has protected the ball well the last two games. Wayne will want to make Northmont have to depend on Reck to beat them. Reck is the No. 3 passer in the GWOC with a 124.3 rating with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions and is averaging 185.5 yards passing per game.
The Wayne front seven can be dominant at times. The only time the front seven has run into trouble was last week at Miamisburg. Wayne had some trouble dealing with Josh Myers, but solved the Miamisburg offense in the second half. Northmont doesn’t have a Myers or even a Zebrie Sanders, so there shouldn’t be a similar breakdown in the trenches on defense this week.
If Wayne is going to force Northmont to air it out, they are going to have to solve some of the problems with deep passes. Miamisburg was able to find success. Viking quarterback Tate Vongsy hit receiver Tyler Johnson deep for 35 and 43 yards to get Miamisburg into the red zone two times.
Wayne can get to the quarterback though. They had three sacks of Vingsy last week.
Wayne’s placekicking has been very good. Garrett Russell is new to football, coming over from soccer, but has impressed in his short career. He has missed only one point after, but he is 100 percent in field goals.
The kick coverage team let a couple of returners get up field on a few returns, but kept them from breaking any. Miamisburg has a pretty good return team, so that’s not anything to be concerned with.
Northmont has had a few players work in at punt and kick returner, but Jabari Perkins, Donavin Wallace and Garrett McGough are the usual returners. All three are good athletes and are good in space, but the Bolt return game is a work in progress.
Wayne has been close to breaking some kick returns for a touchdown. It’s only a matter of time.
What to Expect
If Northmont is as advertised we could see a low scoring, grind it out slugfest. If Northmont can’t stop Pitts and Foster for four quarters, this game could look like the Miamisburg game.
Reach Robert Williamson II via email at: RobertWilliamsonII@gmail.com