LEBANON — Northmont amassed 497 yards in total offense Friday at Lebanon while limiting the Warriors to 131 yards as the Thunderbolts romped to an easy 51-7 victory.
After struggling against Wayne last week in a 38-35 loss in double overtime when he completed only 11 of 29 passes quarterback Miles Johnson made good on 21 of 30 pass attempts for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Donavin Wallace had eight pass receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown and Drake Hickman caught five passes for 119 yards and one TD.
Devin Kenerly, who rushed for 145 yards against Wayne, had another 100-plus yards performance at Lebanon with 110 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.
Northmont started slow but eventually scored with Kenerly scoring a two yard run to cap a five play, 59 yard drive with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter. Drake Hickman hauled in an over the shoulder pass on a bomb down the right side for an 87 yard touchdown to put the Thunderbolts up 13-0 with 46 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Thunderbolts’ defense laid some big hits on the Warriors and kept Lebanon off the scoreboard the entire first half. Johnson tossed a 14 yard touchdown to Dawson Walker and a 17 yard touchdown to Wallace and Brandon Goodwin kicked a 33 yard field goal with five seconds left in the second quarter to give Northmont a 30-0 halftime lead.
“Lebanon actually played Springfield very tough last week and watching the film I thought Lebanon could have actually won that game,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “It kind of got out of hand at the end, but it was a very close the game the whole way. I have known Lebanon Coach Shawn Lamb a long time, he is a great guy, and they do a great job here at Lebanon. We are just lucky to get out of here with a win. I told the boys, the winning and losing is part of football, but what I am most proud of is how they won the game. They won with class, displayed their character tonight and were true Thunderbolts. They made me proud of the way they conducted themselves. When the game got a little lopsided they kept playing the right way.”
Lebanon’s chain workers commented on how disciplined Northmont played in comparison to Springfield. Other chain workers at road games have commented about how respectful the team is, which is a tribute to Broering’s leadership and philosophy about the game and life that he preaches to his players.
The only blemish in Northmont’s victory came on a muffed punt with Lebanon recovering the fumble at the Thunderbolts’ 27 yard line. After a swing pass gained no yards Brendan Lamb broke through the line for a 27 yard touchdown run to cut Northmont’s lead to 30-7 with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter.
Northmont answered with an 11 play, 65 yard drive with Kenerly scoring on a two yard run.
On Lebanon’s next possession the defense forced quarterback Kyle Short out of the pocket and hit him as he threw a pass that Danny Lewis picked off and ran back 48 yards for a touchdown. Brandon Goodwin’s kick increased Northmont’s lead to 44-7 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
From there Northmont’s second and third string players got in on the act. Backup quarterback Keaton Kesling completed two of three pass attempts for 17 yards and Kelynn Taylor scored on a 17 yard run with 1:13 remaining to make the final tally 51-7.
“We call Kesling ‘Drew Brees.’ He is our future project. He is a great kid too,” Broering said. “I know I say it every week, but these are really great kids and I am proud of them and I am proud to be their coach, whether we win or we lose. When we win like this I am not so concerned about the score of the game or the stats that you mentioned, it is how we play the game. I have been telling the kids for three years, you have got to respect the game and you have got to respect your opponent… no matter who it is. You have to display that every week in order to win. They have listened and learned and they are a great group of guys. A couple of years ago we were on the other end of these games, so I feel for Shawn because he is a good coach and he has a good program, so I feel bad because I know what it is like.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@AimMediaMidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind