Northwest falls short in home opener, 48-28


The Northwest Mohawks were eager to return home Friday night to face off with the Chillicothe Huntington Huntsmen. Both teams came in to the game with a 0-2 record, looking for their first win of the season.

Northwest has challenged themselves with a tough out of conference schedule, and although they made significant improvements in this game, the Mohawks fell short in the final outcome by a score of 48-28.

The Huntsmen entered the game with a dangerous tandem in the backfield of quarterback Elijah McCloskey and running back Gavin Snyder. The two Chillicothe Huntington players made things difficult early and often for the Mohawks.

Snyder set the tone for the Huntsmen on their opening drive. Chillicothe Huntington burst out of the gates with a six play, 60 yard drive capped off by an eight yard touchdown plunge from Snyder. Just two minutes and 18 seconds into the game, the Huntsmen had a 7-0 lead.

The ground game proved to be a potent part of the offense for Chillicothe Huntington, as the Huntsmen racked up 170 yards on 31 carries for the game. Five of their seven touchdowns for the game came through rushing scores.

Looking for some early momentum, Northwest took over on offense trying to make a play to pull themselves even on the scoreboard. Chillicothe Huntington stood strong and forced the Mohawks to punt on their opening drive.

A bad snap to Evan Throckmorton resulted in Throckmorton being tackled for a huge loss and a turnover on downs for Northwest. The Huntsmen sent their offense on to the field at the Mohawk 21 yard line.

Four players later, McCloskey got the job done with his legs. The quarterback kept it himself for a six yard touchdown scamper, but the extra point was blocked. With 6:55 remaining in the first quarter, Chillicothe Huntington held a 13-0 lead.

Northwest head coach Doug Montavon would have liked to seen a better first half defensive performance from his team. “Defensively in the first half we had a lot of missed assignments, a lot of missed tackles and it seemed like we didn’t even force them to turn the ball over,” Montavon said.

While the defense was working on fixing some of the kinks, the offense got things going for the Mohawks to put Northwest back on top.

First, Austin Penrod pounded his way to pay dirt, finishing off an eight play, 51 yard drive. The stingy Mohawks weren’t going away, and trailed by just six with 2:05 left in the first quarter.

Then, Northwest was able to execute an onside kick to perfection. Throckmorton used his soccer skills to deliver a well-placed onside kick, and Hobby Howard recovered for the Mohawks. Northwest was able to recover two of Throckmorton’s onside kicks on the day.

All of a sudden, it looked like a completely different ball game. Running back Nathan Rivers took the handoff on the first play of the drive for 49 yards before being tackled at the two yard line. Rivers finished things off with a touchdown, and the extra point put the Mohawks on top 14-13 with 1:35 left in the first.

The scoring didn’t stop there, though, as Huntington Chillicothe had the perfect response on the preceding drive. McCloskey once again got things done on the ground, scoring a 30 yard touchdown on a two play, 62 yard drive that took just 34 seconds off the clock.

McCloskey didn’t limit himself to the ground, and on the next drive for the Huntsmen he found Canaan Knowles for a ten yard touchdown grab on a bubble screen. Just like that, Chillicothe Huntington was back in control of the game, leading 27-14 with 9:06 left before halftime.

When Chillicothe Huntington scored again on their next drive, things looked like they could get out of hand. The Huntsmen put together a four play, 60 yard drive, and got the touchdown on a 16 yard pass from McCloskey to Seth Beeler.

For the game, McCloskey went 6-13 passing with 144 yards through the air and two passing touchdowns.

Huntington was ahead 34-14 with 7:35 still to go in the second, but the Mohawks weren’t giving up.

The Mohawks were able to manufacture a nine play, 58 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown after quarterback Garrett Rowe scored from two yards out on a quarterback sneak with 2:54 to go before the intermission.

Just as the Huntsmen had done all day, Chillicothe Huntington marched right back down the field and looked as though they were going to stretch the lead heading in to the locker room. The Huntsmen were deep in Northwest territory, but the Mohawks were able to come up with a crucial goal line stand with just five seconds left in the first half.

Heading in to halftime, Northwest trailed 34-21, but carried a lot of confidence in to the second half with them after that big defensive stand.

“They stepped up and put a stop on them and it gave us a good opportunity to keep their heads in the game going in to halftime,” Montavon said about the defensive stop. “That gave us a good momentum going in to the half.”

The Mohawks received the ball to start the second half, but couldn’t capitalize immediately. However, Northwest did score late in the third quarter when Rivers scored his second touchdown from four yards out to conclude a six play, 36 yard drive with 3:34 left in the third quarter.

Rivers and the rushing offense for Northwest played a big part in the attack for the Mohawks. Northwest finished the game rushing for 113 yards on 38 carries as a team.

Once again, though, Chillicothe Huntington had an answer. After a long pass to Beeler put the Huntsmen inside the red zone, McCloskey dashed in for another score. In just three plays, Chillicothe Huntington traveled 58 yards. With 18 seconds on the clock in the third quarter, the Huntsmen had a 40-28 advantage of the two-point conversion failed.

Chillicothe Huntington added to their lead several minutes later on a 41 yard Snyder touchdown run. That touchdown came from a five play, 59 yard drive, and with 9:12 remaining to play in the game Northwest was in trouble. The two point conversion attempt was good for the Huntsmen on a McCloskey throw to Beeler, and Chillicothe Huntington now had a 48-28 lead.

The Mohawks were unable to cut into the lead, and ultimately fell by that score.

Even with the loss, there were still plenty of bright spots on what the remainder of the season has in store for Montavon’s group. “We talked about bending but not breaking. It’s disappointing,” Montavon said. “I told them “there is no perfect speech after a loss like that, or after a start to the season like this. But, when people stick together good things happen.” Oak Hill, the last two years, started out 0-3 and won a lot of ball games.”

The aforementioned Oaks went 0-3 in 2016 as well as 2015, only to finish 5-5 and 6-4 respectively. Montavon is hoping his team can wind up like Oak Hill and turn things around with seven games left on the schedule.

Montavon feels that he has the team that can accomplish a feat like that. “We’ve got a lot of good kids on the team that are going to keep pushing forward and persevering and we’ll see where it takes us,” Montavon said. “We put up a good fight, it just wasn’t our night. We’ll keep preparing and go from there.”

Northwest (0-3) will play another tough game next Friday, as the Mohawks travel to Minford (1-2).

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Quarter

Huntington – Gavin Snyder 8 yd run (PAT), 9:42

Huntington – Elijah McCloskey 6 yd run, (Kick blocked), 6:55

Northwest – Austin Penrod 9 yd run (PAT), 2:05

Northwest – Nathan Ribers 2 yd run (PAT), 1:35

Huntington – Elijah McCloskey 30 yd run (PAT), 1:01

2nd Quarter

Huntington – Canaan Knowles 10 yd reception from Elijah McCloskey (PAT), 9:06

Huntington – Seth Beeler 16 yd reception from Elijah McCloskey (PAT), 7:35

Northwest – Garrett Rowe 2 yd touchdown run (PAT), 2:54

3rd Quarter

Northwest – Nathan Rivers 4 yd touchdown run (PAT), 3:34

Huntington – Elijah McCloskey touchdown run (2 pt fails), 0:18

4th Quarter

Huntington – Gavin Snyder 41 yd touchdown run (Beeler 2 pt conversion), 9:12

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

Northwest senior Austin Hall stretches and chats with one of his coaches.
http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2017/09/web1_rsz_photothree.jpgNorthwest senior Austin Hall stretches and chats with one of his coaches. Ben Spicer | Daily Times

Northwest senior quarterback Garrett Rowe gets loose before the game.
http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2017/09/web1_rsz_photoone.jpgNorthwest senior quarterback Garrett Rowe gets loose before the game. Ben Spicer | Daily Times

Mohawks senior lineman Gabe Scott talks with his coaches in pregame.
http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2017/09/web1_rsz_phototwo.jpgMohawks senior lineman Gabe Scott talks with his coaches in pregame. Ben Spicer | Daily Times

By Benjamin Spicer

bspicer@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 or on Twitter @BSpicerPDT