GALION — For the second consecutive season and just the second time in school history, the Northmor Golden Knights football team found themselves in the postseason.
After traveling to Beverly last season and dropping their contest against hosting Fort Frye, the Knights received a more favorable three seed in 2018 and would host the visiting, No. 6 seeded Southeastern Panthers from Chillicothe in week 11 action.
In less than favorable field conditions, Northmor would win their first-ever playoff game to move to the Division VI Sweet 16, defeating Southeastern by a final score of 28-16. The Panthers’ season comes to an end at 7-4 while the Golden Knights advance at 10-1.
The game began with the Knights winning the coin toss and electing to receive the opening kickoff. Unfortunately, Northmor was unable strike on their first possession and would punt the ball away to Southeastern. The Panthers would be unable to capitalize as well, leading to Northmor’s second possession.
That is when the scoring would begin for the home team. After marching down the field, Northmor capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run from back Conor Becker. Becker would be denied on his two-point conversion attempt but the black and gold took the lead with 6:09 remaining in the first quarter. Less than five minutes later, Becker would find the endzone again, this time from 28 yards out but failed to convert the two-point attempt. After the first 12 minutes of play, the Golden Knights held a 12-0 advantage.
Scoring slowed down dramatically in the second quarter as neither team found the back of the endzone until just 27 seconds remained on the clock. That was when Southeastern reached the scoreboard for the first time on a nine-yard aerial strike from Ike Diehl to Zack Proehl. Quarterback Lane Ruby hit Dustin Elliott for the two-point conversion and the Panthers headed into the locker room down just four points; 12-8.
After the intermission, the scoring would continue to be scarce for much of the third period. Northmor quarterback Hunter Mariotti connected with tight end Blake Miller for a 15 yard touchdown with just :58 remaining in the frame. Becker tacked on the two-point attempt to distance the Knights further; 20-8. The Panthers would not go quietly into the night though as they struck again roughly halfway through the fourth quarter thanks to a Ruby 25-yard keeper. Ruby would then proceed to find Noah Dresbach for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 20-16.
With time not on their side, the Panthers would attempt the onside kick but to results in the Golden Knights’ favor. Becker scooped up the kick and turned it into a solid return. On the play, Southeastern also picked up a personal foul penalty to give Northmor the ball on the Panthers’ 15-yard line. A Mariotti to Miller connection in the endzone would be negated by a holding call, placing the ball all the way back to the 26-yard line. On the very next play however, Mariotti would find Becker on a bubble screen with Becker taking it 26 yards for the touchdown. Becker continued to spark the Golden Knights offense by adding a needed two-point conversion to put the game at the eventual final score of 28-16.