WILLOW WOOD — The Northwest Mohawks made the absolute most of their second chance on Friday night.
As a result, they made the most of their second opportunity at the Southern Ohio Conference Division I championship in as many years.
After the Symmes Valley Vikings vanquished the Mohawks last season, and captured the SOC I title themselves, Northwest gained a measure of revenge —rallying past Symmes Valley to win 10-8 and claim the outright league crown for the first time in program history.
In Northwest’s initial season (2014) in the SOC I, the Mohawks split the championship with Symmes Valley and Oak Hill — and only last season got themselves back in position to play for that title again.
Northwest (5-1) went 5-0 in the SOC I, and scored the final 10 points against the Vikings —all in the second half —to prevail and prevent the Vikings from sharing with them.
A Symmes Valley victory also meant a three-way title tie — as Eastern defeated Green on Friday night to put itself in position for a possible split.
The Vikings fell to 4-2 and finished 3-2 in the league — as Eastern (5-1), with its only SOC defeat coming at Northwest, ended up at 4-1.
Symmes Valley, which maintained a 36-minute lead, almost indeed pulled it out —that was until the final minute and 24 seconds.
Northwest’s Dakota Secrest, who already made the extra point on the Mohawks’ touchdown, attempted a 24-yard field goal —but the Vikings blocked the kick and appeared to have sealed the win.
That wasn’t the case, though.
The officials informed both teams that an inadvertent whistle had blown, and thus the down was replayed —giving the sophomore Secrest a second kick.
This time, Secrest connected for the 10-8 lead — as he then intercepted Grayson Walsh and returned the ball to the Vikings’ 2-yard-line.
Northwest went into victory formation and ran out the clock, locking up its long-coveted SOC I title.
Northwest second-year coach Bill Crabtree commented that his charges overcame injury, illness, opt-outs and doubters.
In the game itself, the Mohawks had three lost fumbles and threw one interception —and were whistled for nine penalties.
But defensively, they stymied the run-heavy Vikings to only 86 rushing yards on 25 attempts —forcing them to pass nine times as they completed just two before Secrest made his interception.
Caleb Crabtree, the coach’s son and standout senior two-way lineman, led that defensive effort with a team-high 10 tackles.
Symmes Valley only collected seven first downs —the same amount of punts it had.
“Our kids played hard all night and defensively controlled the game. The offense took a while to get started, but when the chips were down they fought hard until the end and caught a break and were able to capitalize. The first half we hurt ourselves with turnovers, but once we settled down, we were able to get a great team win. A great community win,” said Coach Crabtree. “They (Vikings) did an awesome job with game-planning to stop Campbell, but thankfully we had Evan Lintz and Wyatt Brackman, who were able to run like trucks for us.”
Brayden Campbell is the run-oriented Mohawks’ feature back, but he had only 57 yards on 18 attempts on Friday.
Instead, the fullback Wyatt Brackman picked up the slack —carrying 22 times for 143 yards and scoring from four yards out only a minute-and-a-half before the Secrest field goal.
That capped a six-play, 42-yard drive, as Northwest amassed 253 total yards —all on the ground.
Evan Lintz chipped in 10 totes for 55 yards.
Trailing 8-7 in the final three minutes, that trio combined its efforts for a drive setting Secrest up — as everything also went right on the second field-goal attempt.
“At the end, we were able to put together a huge drive and Dakota Secrest was huge again with a clutch field goal to give us the lead. Tanner Bolin was a freshman long snapper who stepped up in a clutch situation and made a great snap, Austin Newman had the hold, and Dakota made the kick,” said Coach Crabtree.
The first field goal try —and inadvertent whistle —wasn’t the only misfortune the Vikings experienced on special teams.
Symmes Valley ran the second-half’s opening kickoff back for a touchdown, but it was called back because of a penalty.
From there, the Mohawks pinned the Vikings deep in their own territory throughout the entire second half —which was a reversal from the opening 24 minutes.
Symmes Valley recovered a first-quarter fumble, and scored its only touchdown when Josh Ferguson —who paced the Vikings with 41 yards on seven carries —found the end zone from 19 yards away.
That was at the 2:18 mark, as Ferguson finished their scoring with the two-point conversion run.
SVHS quarterback Luke Leith, who completed a pass for 40 yards with seven attempts, added 11 carries but for only 29 yards.
Now with the SOC I wrapped up, the Mohawks will play Portsmouth (1-5) in the opening round of the Division V Region 19 playoffs on Saturday night.
* * *
*Stats courtesy of the Ironton Tribune*
Northwest 0 0 7 3 — 10
Symmes Valley 8 0 0 0 — 8
SV –Josh Ferguson, 19-yard run (Josh Ferguson run) 2:18 (8-0 SV)
NW –Wyatt Brackman, 4-yard run (Dakota Secrest kick) 2:54 (8-7 SV)
NW — Dakota Secrest, 24-yard field goal, 1:24 (10-8 NW)
First downs 17 7
Rushes-yards 51-253 25-86
Passing yards 0 43
Total yards 253 129
Cmp-Att-Int 0-5-1 2-9-1
Fumbles-lost 5-3 0-0
Penalties-yards 9-82 7-54
Punts-average 2-34.5 7-33.7
RUSHING —Northwest: Brayden Campbell 18-57, Wyatt Brackman 22-143, Evan Lintz 10-55, Austin Newman 1-(-2); Symmes Valley: Josh Ferguson 7-41, Luke Leith 11-29, Derek Crum 2-0, Grayson Walsh 1-3, Ethan Patterson 4-13
PASSING — Northwest: Austin Newman 0-5-1; Symmes Valley: Luke Leith 1-7-0 40, Grayson Walsh 1-2-1 3
RECEIVING — Northwest: none; Symmes Valley: Nick Strow 1-40, Ethan Patterson 1-3
© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved