Northwest football mounted a comeback that would fall short in a 27-21 loss to Ferris State, after falling down 20-0 late in the second quarter Nov. 24 in Big Rapids, Michigan.
Prior to kickoff the announcement that Ferris State junior quarterback Jayru Campbell would not play brought the issue of who would play quarterback of the Bulldogs. The issue was easily solved as it did not matter who was at the helm as the Ferris offense dominated regardless.
A quick glance at the stat sheet shows that the Bearcats (10-3) could not find an answer for the Bulldog’s (13-0) offensive game plan, especially early on. By halftime, Ferris State had amassed 343 yards of total offense including 149 yards rushing. Both well over the per game average given up by Northwest’s defense, 291.2 total and 89.1 rushing.
Ferris State wasted no time getting the offense moving as the Bulldogs ran a halfback pass that went for 71 yards and led to a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. Despite the quick start from Ferris, linebackers coach Chad Bostwick told Bearcat Radio Network he was proud of the way the Bearcats never gave up.
“It was a tough way to start the game giving up that big play, trick play right from the start to get the momentum on their (Ferris State) side right away,” Bostwick said. “(We) dug ourselves a hole and I’m proud of our kids for the way they fought, never gave up and kept fighting.”
The early game struggles led to the first time possession for Northwest ending in punts while Ferris was able to score on three of its first five drives. A lone score for the Bearcats in the first half came on a completion from freshman quarterback Braden Wright to senior wide receiver Shawn Bane Jr.
Bane, who hauled in five receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown in the loss, saw the closing score of the first half as a possible momentum builder for the Bearcats.
“I was like if we can score then, we get the ball back to start the second half and we can come back and make it a game so the touchdown was huge,” Bane said via the Bearcat Radio Network.
Ferris State continued to gain yardage in the second half but was unable to find the same success it had early on in scoring. Northwest’s defense held the Bulldogs to seven second-half points in the third quarter while allowing 265 yards of offense in the second half.
While the Bulldogs added a touchdown in the third, senior safety Jack Richards returned an interception for a touchdown in the same quarter to make it 27-14 heading to the fourth.
The fourth quarter saw two missed field goals from Ferris State, neither of which Northwest was able to capitalize on to turn into points. With 1:19 left in the game the Bearcats took control from their own 12-yard line down 27-14.
Wright would help lead the Bearcats 88 yards for a touchdown with 14 seconds left on the clock. The ensuing onside kick would be recovered by Northwest and what could have been a miraculous comeback ended on a strip sack by the Bulldogs with no time left on the clock.
With the season coming to an end the next step for Northwest is to take a look forward to next season. While the offense saw its struggles, a bright spot was the connection of Wright and fellow freshman wide receiver LaTroy Harper. The two connected eight times for 115 yards.
The productivity of the younger players on the offensive side should help soften the blow of losing seniors like Bane in the 2019 season for Northwest.