McDERMOTT — With Notre Dame driving into Northwest territory in each of its two fourth-quarter drives, the Northwest defense needed to make momentum-changing plays.
They got those plays from underclassmen defensive backs Connor Lintz and Bryson Johnson in the form of interceptions.
With 10:54 remaining in the contest, Lintz — a six-foot-one 185-pound freshman — intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Caleb Nichols’ pass after it bounced out of a Titan receiver’s hands, returning the pick all-the-way to the Notre Dame 30-yard line.
On its next offensive possession, Notre Dame’s drive again stalled after another Nichols pass was picked off — this time by Johnson, a 5-10 215-pound sophomore, and returned to the Titans’ 40-yard line with 1:43 left in the game.
This allowed the Northwest offense to keep the ball on the ground, and pick up a first down to keep the clock running past the point where the Titans ‘defense could make a stop.
In the Mohawks’ 10-6 win over the visiting Titans, Northwest’s defense caused five Notre Dame turnovers — three coming in the first quarter of play — but none matched the importance of the late-game picks by the young Mohawk secondary.
“Those young guys stepped up and made big plays for us,” Crabtree said. “This is Bryson Johnson’s first start for us, picks off a pass that seals the deal for us — it was huge. Great kid, works his butt off. And Connor, can’t say enough about him. Coming through and saving the day for us. Defensively, we did a pretty good job getting to them.”
Northwest sophomore placekicker Dakota Secrest capped a 20-yard drive seven plays after the Lintz interception, nailing a 27-yard field goal to give the Mohawks their 10-6 late lead — before kicking off for Notre Dame’s final offensive possession.
The Mohawks’ defense held Notre Dame to just 221 yards of total offense, despite the Titans dominating possession for 28:16 of the 48-minute clock.
The Titans broke into the scoring column just once in the loss — a 2-yard touchdown run by senior running back Logan Emnett with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
A Northwest lost fumble — one of two Mohawk loss of possessions — set up the Titans’ two-play, 25-yard scoring drive on their second possession of the period.
The two-point attempt following Emnett’s touchdown was unsuccessful, keeping Notre Dame behind 7-6 with over 22 minutes remaining in the game.
Emnett carried 12 times for 48 yards while Nichols was the Titans’ leading rusher with 65 yards on 18 carries.
“We knew they had athletes, we didn’t expect for them to sling it around as much as they did,” Crabtree said, of facing the Titans’ offense. “Thankful we had kids step up and make plays for us.”
Northwest’s lone touchdown came with 8:03 remaining in the first half, a 10-yard TD run from junior running back Brayden Campbell.
Campbell was the Mohawks’ leading rusher — carrying 17 times for a game-high 166 yards.
Nathan Rivers carried the Mohawks’ rushing load when the ball wasn’t in Campbell’s hands.
The senior back ran for 80 yards on just 15 attempts.
While the Mohawks’ defense played well enough to win, Crabtree said after the game that he’s still looking for more consistency from the offensive side of the ball — with Northwest scoring just six and 10 points in its first two games of the season.
“We’ve just got to find our groove,” Crabtree said. “We’re trying a lot of different things, getting different people a look. We’ve just got to find out what’s working, and we’ve got to figure it out fast.”
Both Northwest and Notre Dame will continue their Southern Ohio Conference Division I march in week three — as the Mohawks will travel to face East and the Titans host Green in their home opener at Spartan Stadium.
“We really haven’t seen film or a scrimmage on them,” Crabtree said of East. “We’re just going to have to get back to watching film, figure out what they’re doing with a new coach, new attitude. We’ve got to get ready.”
Notre Dame — 0 0 6 0 — 6
Northwest — 0 7 0 3 — 10
N — Brayden Campbell, 10-yard run (Dakota Secrest kick good), 8:03 2Q (7-0 N)
ND — Logan Emnett, 2-yard run (2-point try unsuccessful), 7:29 3Q (7-6 N)
N — 27-yard field goal made by Dakota Secrest, 6:49 4Q (10-6 N)
|Time of Possession||28:16||19:44|
|Penalties||5 for 37||11 for 82|
Rushing — Notre Dame: Caleb Nichols 18-65, Logan Emnett 12-48 TD, Dylan Seison 1-22, Beau Hobbs 2-19, Austin Vaughters 3-12; Northwest: Brayden Campbell 17-166 TD, Nathan Rivers 15-80, Connor Lintz 2-27, Wyatt Brackman 2-10, Austin Newman 6-(-10)
Passing — Notre Dame: Caleb Nichols 4-10 57 yards 2 INT; Northwest: Brayden Campbell 1-1 8 yards, Austin Newman 0-3 0 yards
Receiving — Notre Dame: Carter Campbell 2-40, Dylan Seison 1-9, Logan Emnett 1-8; Northwest: Dakota Secrest 1-8
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved