MCDERMOTT – While Friday night’s SOC I championship game had all the makings to be a night to remember in Northwest football history, penalties and untimely turnovers over the course of the game caught up with the host Mohawks.
The visiting Symmes Valley Vikings were able to put points on the board early thanks to their ability to capitalize on Northwest mistakes, ultimately giving the visiting Vikings a 22-16 road win over Northwest.
With Friday’s win, Symmes Valley improves to 9-1 (5-0 SOC I), clinching an outright SOC I championship for the first time since 2011. Symmes Valley’s road win over Northwest also likely clinches a postseason berth for the Vikings for the first time since 2014 in the Division VII Region 27 rankings.
With the Senior Night home loss, Northwest falls to 6-4 (4-1 SOC I) to put a cap on the Mohawks’ eighth winning season in program history.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Northwest coach Bill Crabtree said following the loss. “We had turnovers and had a lot of unnecessary penalties that hurt us. We had some key guys go down throughout the night for us, ended up being the difference in the game. Our kids battled though, they never gave up. We had a lot of young guys on the field tonight due to injuries. At the end of the day, I’m proud of our kids and the effort they put forth tonight, the work they put in this season, and I’m happy with the direction of our program.”
Symmes Valley got the scoring going early in the first quarter when on a Northwest punt attempt, Vikings sophomore Eli Patterson scoop-and-scored said attempt, returning the ball all the way for a Vikings touchdown with 8:03 left in the first frame.
After a Northwest turnover on downs on their next series, Vikings senior quarterback Jack Leith connected with brother Luke Leith for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 left in the first quarter to put the Vikings ahead 14-0.
Both teams next drive would result in a three-and-out.
In need of points in the worst way, Northwest turned to sophomore running back Brayden Campbell. Campbell used his speed and ability to find holes to score the Mohawks first touchdown of the game from 17 yards out to make bring his team to within one score at 14-7 with 10:54 left in the first half.
Most of the second quarter was plagued by penalties called on both teams. At the half, Northwest and Symmes Valley combined for nine penalties for 125 yards (82 Northwest, 43 Symmes Valley).
Symmes Valley would take their 14-7 lead into the halftime break.
Northwest would play their best quarter of football in the third period.
In total, Northwest held Symmes Valley to just one yard of offense in quarter three while gaining 96 yards of total offense on the ground themselves.
To start the half, a Northwest drive was halted by the Vikings defense at their 13-yard line, forcing freshman kicker Dakota Secrest to take, and make, a 30-yard field goal to bring the game’s score to 14-10 in favor of Symmes Valley.
With :12 left in the third quarter, Northwest’s Nathan Rivers gave the Mohawks their first and only lead of the game on a 13-yard rushing touchdown which capped a six play, 43 yard scoring drive for Northwest. After not converting the two point try, Northwest led Symmes Valley 16-14. Rivers’ 13-yard rushing score would be his last carry in Friday’s game.
“As soon as Rivers really got going, he ended up getting hurt which really took the wind out of our sails,” Crabtree said. “Him being our feature back and having to come out of the game let them key in on Campbell more than we would have liked.”
Campbell finished the night with 25 carries for 193 yards and a rushing touchdown while Rivers finished with 15 carries for 137 yards and a touchdown to lead the Mohawks’ offensive attack.
On their next drive, Symmes Valley retook the lead 22-16 on an eight yard hook-up from Jack Leith to Luke Leith, their second scoring connection of the game. Leith’s touchdown reception capped a 10 play, 42-yard, 5:58 scoring drive. Jack Leith successfully converted the two point try on a quarterback carry.
On their final two drives, only needing a touchdown and extra point to claim their first outright SOC I championship in school history, Northwest was unable to capitalize.
With 1st and 10 from the Vikings 40-yard line with 2:17 left in the game, Northwest’s Austin Newman’s pass was intercepted and returned to the Mohawk 27-yard line, allowing the Vikings to take three kneel-downs and end the game with the Mohawks using their three timeouts earlier in the quarter.
Northwest bids adieu to six seniors following Friday’s loss to Symmes Valley: Billy Crabtree, Timmy Emmons, Gage-Lute Defoe, Caleb Goodson, Andrew Hyland, and Braden Borens.
While Northwest returns 52 players of their 58 man roster during the 2019 season, Crabtree looks forward to having a full offseason of preparation with his staff and team in hopes of competing for an SOC I championship a year from now, as well as the school’s first ever trip to the postseason.
“This offseason is going to be huge for us in the weight room,” Crabtree said. “I think we’re heading in the right direction there; we’re definitely a lot stronger today than we were week one. This will be our first full offseason in the weight room, so it’ll be exciting to see what we’re able to put on the field next year.”
Symmes Valley – 14 0 0 8 – 22
Northwest – 0 7 9 0 – 16
SV – Eli Patterson, fumble recovery (Gavan Yates PAT good), 8:03 1Q (7-0 SV)
SV – Luke Leith, 18-yard catch from Jack Leith (Gavan Yates PAT good), 5:28 1Q (14-0 SV)
N – Brayden Campbell, 17-yard run (Dakota Secrest PAT good), 10:54 2Q (14-7 SV)
N – Dakota Secrest, 30-yard field goal, 7:43 3Q (14-10 SV)
N – Nathan Rivers, 13-yard run (Two point try failed), :12 3Q (16-14 N)
SV – Luke Leith, 8-yard catch from Jack Leith (Jack Leith rush converts two point try), 6:14 4Q (22-16 SV)
|Yards (Rushing-Passing)||158 (124-34)||332 (0-332)|
|Time of Possession||27:08||20:52|
|Penalties||9 for 78 yards||8 for 97 yards|
Rushing – Symmes Valley: Josh Ferguson 14-53, Jack Leith 16-44, Ethan Patterson 8-24, Nick Strow 3-3;
Northwest: Brayden Campbell 25-193 TD, Nathan Rivers 15-137, Wyatt Brackman 1-2, Austin Newman 2-0
Passing – Symmes Valley: Jack Leith 4/6 34 yards 2 TDs; Northwest: Austin Newman 0/4 0 yards INT
Receiving – Symmes Valley: Luke Leith 2-26 2 TDs, Josh Ferguson 2-8; Northwest: None
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved