CLAYTON — With Northmont leading Fairmont 21-7 with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter Friday night officials stopped the game due to lightning.
Just before play was suspended Andrew Knick blocked a Fairmont punt. A penalty against Northmont on the play moved the ball back to the Fairmont 36. Franklin ran for an 11 yard gain to the 25 before play was suspended.
When play resumed Saturday at 10 a.m. Brandon Goodwin kicked a 28 yard field goal to increase Northmont’s lead to 24-7. From there things went downhill quickly.
Fairmont returned the kickoff to the 27 and after a 10 yard gain by running back Jesse Deglow Northmont shot itself in the foot by getting slapped with back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to give the Firebirds a first down at the Thunderbolts’ 32. On third and one Aaron Jackson picked up 18 yards for a first and goal at the five. Jackson scored on the next play. Asher Rohm’s kick made it 24-14.
Ryan Hall recovered a successful onside kick for Fairmont at the Bolts’ 44. Three plays later Jackson broke loose for 25 yard gain for a first and goal at the three. Deglow finished off the drive with a three yard run and Rohm’s kick cut the deficit to 24-21 with 3:19 left.
The Firebirds attempted another onside kick but Knick grabbed the ball to give Northmont the ball at its own 44. The T-Bolts were forced to punt with Fairmont calling a fair catch at its 14. The Firebirds drove to the Northmont 33 but with time waning the Thunderbolts broke up a pair of deep passes to escape with a three point win.
“We like to make it exciting,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “I told (Fairmont coach) Dave Miller what a great job they did. It was very impressive how they came back today. They didn’t quit. They tried a lot of trick plays. I don’t even know if we have that many trick plays, so we had our hands full defended all of those trick plays, plus they recovered that onside kick. They did a good job.”
The trick plays Broering referred to were halfback option passes and pass completions with a lateral to a trailing player to pick up extra yardage.
Northmont lost its star defensive end, senior Gabe Newburg, on the first defensive series of the night when he sustained an injury to his ankle. The extent of the injury is unknown at this time. Newburg is scheduled to get an X-ray on Saturday morning.
Starting quarterback Miles Johnson also left the game late in the third quarter with a dazed look in his eyes. Junior Keaton Kesling stepped in and promptly moved the team into scoring position right after Fairmont had cut the Thunderbolts’ lead to 14-7.
Fairmont tried to kick the ball short but Justin Golson scooped the ball up at the 30 and juked past would-be tacklers all the way to Fairmont’s 36.
After an illegal block in the back moved the Thunderbolts back to the 49 Kesling threw a deep pass to Golson that was right on the mark but a Fairmont player interfered with the catch and the resulting penalty gave Northmont a first down and eight at the Fairmont 34.
Kesling completed a seven yard pass to Drake Hickman and a nine yard pass to Jason Kohr to give Northmont a first down at the Firebirds 20 yard line. Two plays later Kesling fired an 11 yard pass completion to Hickman for a first and goal at the six. From there running back Michael Franklin punched the ball into the end zone. Brandon Goodwin’s kick made it 21-7.
Northmont got its first score by capitalizing on a fumbled punt by Fairmont return man Chase
Fugate. Knick recovered the fumble at midfield. A delay of game penalty moved the ball back to the Northmont 45. On the next play Johnson completed a pass to Golson who broke tackles to score on a 55 yard completion with 6:48 remaining in the first quarter. Goodwin’s kick put the Thunderbolts up 7-0.
Fairmont pulled off a successful fake punt on fourth down and five from its own 25 with Trey Baker taking a short snap to rumble 25 yards for a first down at the 50. Northmont eventually stopped the Fairmont drive to take over on downs at its own 21. On third and 14 Johnson completed a pass to tight end Jason Kohr for a first down at the 33. The drive stalled at the 36 and the Thunderbolts were forced to punt.
Fairmont called for a fair catch at its 34 and on the first play from scrimmage the Firebirds fumbled a pitch-out with Christian Cvetnic recovering the loose ball at the Firebirds’ 27. After a delay of game penalty Johnson connected with Golson for a 32 yard touchdown pass. Goodwin’s kick made it 14-0.
Fairmont engineered a 58 scoring drive in the third quarter with running back Jesse Deglow busting loose for a 29 yard gain on the drive to give Fairmont a first and goal at the four yard line. From there Deglow carried the ball two more times to score the Firebirds only touchdown of the night.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind