TOPEKA, Kan. – Northwest football rode a 24-point second half scoring run on the way to a 38-17 victory against Washburn Sept. 6 at Yager Stadium.
After scoreless drive from both the No. 6 Bearcats (2-0) and Ichabods (1-1) to open the game, Northwest rattled off a nine play, 59-yard drive ending in a 15-yard touchdown gallup by junior running back Isaiah Strayhorn making the score 7-0 with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
The Ichabods responded with a seven play drive of their own capped in a 24-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Blake Peterson to sophomore wideout James Letcher Jr. to tie it up at seven. Washburn claimed the next touchdown of the game as well after a short stalled drive by the Bearcats.
With 10:09 to go in the second quarter Peterson connected with senior wideout James Brania-Hopp for a 39-yard score making it 14-7 in favor of Washburn. The early passing attack from the Ichabods was something senior defensive end Austen Eskew said they notice in the Week 1 film.
“We notice they’ve (Washburn) been throwing the ball around a little bit more than our game last year, where it was just running the ball and they were not very effective passing it,” Eskew said. “They threw a couple of things at us we were not ready for and that is just college football, you got to adjust to it. I feel like we played more of a complete game as a defense in the second half.”
The Bearcats did not wait long to respond and tie the game back up at 14 when redshirt freshman Braden Wright scrambled up the middle 27-yards to the end zone with 7:11 left before halftime. This is where the score would stay for the rest of the half as both defenses tighten their grip on the game, including an interception by sophomore defensive back Chance Hall for the Bearcats.
Scoring in the second half was opened up by Ichabod senior kicker Perry Schmiedeler who netted a 35-yard field goal with 11:54 left in the third, pushing the score to 17-14 for Washburn. This would be the last score for Washburn as Northwest would answer by piling up 24 unanswered points.
Wright gave the Bearcats back the lead by again using his legs to maneuver his way 17-yards for another touchdown with 7:08 remaining in the third, making the score 21-17.
Sophomore kicker Parker Sampson capped the scoring in the third quarter with a 39-yard field goal that pushed the lead to 24-17 with 2:38 before the fourth.
Wright’s ability to move the ball on the ground is an aspect of his game that he recognizes and said he knows it can help his team.
“I know that I have the ability to move from the quarterback spot so I figure why not use that and try to help my team,” Wright said. “I’m gonna do whatever I have to do, whether that is just handing the ball off to our running backs, if I have to run I’ll do that and if they need me to throw the ball every play I’ll do that. Whatever the team needs from me that is what I’ll give them.”
The scoring continued in the final quarter for the Bearcats. Wright connected with senior tight end Chase White for a 14-yard touchdown pass that led to a 31-17 lead with 12:42 left in the game.
Senior running back Josh Caldwell polished off the game for the Bearcats with a 17-yard touchdown scamper with 2:01 leading to the final score of 38-17 Bearcats. Next up will be family weekend for Northwest as they take on Missouri Southern at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15 in Bearcat Stadium.