TAHLEQUAH, Okla.- Northwest football dominated Northeastern State in all three facets of the game and picked up a 62-17 victory Oct. 27.
The No. 11 Bearcats (8-1) got rolling early with an opening drive that lasted 1:42 and ended in a six-yard rushing touchdown by freshman quarterback Braden Wright. The quick drive was set up by a 48-yard kickoff return by fellow freshman LaTroy Harper.
Northwest’s special teams was a constant positive for Northwest throughout the game with the offense being given many shorter fields to work with. One player who received the benefit of the special team's play was senior offensive lineman Zach Flott.
On the Bearcats second drive, Flott took his first career reception for nine yards to extend a scoring drive on a fake pooch punt. The reception electrified not only the 298 pounder but his fellow offensive teammates as well.
“I told him after the play I said ‘I wish I would have just told you (Flott) that they were going to cut you so get your legs up’,” senior running back Josh Caldwell said. “He wanted to run it again but I think we executed the play well.”
After Flott’s catch, Northwest continued to roll on offense scoring 45 points by halftime. Another standout for the Bearcat special team unit was sophomore kicker Parker Sampson, who went 2-3, including a 50-yard field goal in the first half.
While special teams and offense played a big role in the win, the Bearcat defense harassed the RiverHawk quarterbacks all four quarters.
With four sacks, the Bearcat defense has now had at least three sacks in six of their nine games this season and have totaled 27. The RiverHawks managed just 193 yards of offense and mere 3.2 yards per play.
The majority of the yardage for Northeastern came through the air as Northwest’s defense held the RiverHawks to 29 yards rushing on 32 attempts. Northeastern’s two biggest plays were through the air, one for 42 yards and one for 27 yards.
Other than two big pass plays by the RiverHawks, coach Rich Wright was pleased with how the defense handled Northeastern
“For the most part I thought we played pretty well and there was not a whole lot of adjustments I had to make,” Rich Wright said.
After halftime, the game shifted for Northwest to a more of a learning experience for some of the second string players. Many starters did not see the field in the second half and the coaching staff used the big lead to get players quality snaps.
“What we’re looking for is execution out of the young players,” Rich Wright said. “I was really pleased and we really actually executed pretty well for the most part so I was overall pleased.”
The Bearcats will carry a five-game win streak back to Maryville for a senior day matchup with Fort Hays State Nov. 3