Northmor was firing on all cylinders when the Golden Knights hosted Fredericktown on Friday, forcing four turnovers and holding a 525-104 advantage in yardage gained.
The team scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and never looked back in picking up a 63-21 win that clinched a home-field game in the first round of the playoffs according to Joe Eitel’s unofficial computer points tally.
“We played a complete football game tonight,” said head coach Scott Armrose. “After the East Knox game, we challenged them to improve and to be playing our best football by week 10.”
And the team’s performance in week nine gave the coach reason to believe that message was taken seriously. Upon taking the opening kickoff, Northmor didn’t waste any time in getting on the board, driving 65 yards in five plays, with the final one being a 23-yard touchdown run by Wyatt Reeder that was followed by the first of seven successful extra point kicks by Nate Ruhl.
After forcing a Freddie punt, it didn’t take long for the team to go 92 yards, as Reeder ran for six on the first play from scrimmage and Hunter Mariotti followed with a long pass to Blake Miller that the senior hauled in and took 86 yards to the end zone.
Another Fredericktown punt led to another quick strike by Northmor. Runs of 24 yards by Conor Becker and 23 by Reeder and a 25-yard pass from Mariotti to Trenton Ramos set up a short scoring run by Becker. After missing most of the season due to injury that was the 2018 first-team All-Ohioan’s first score of the season.
“Two weeks ago, getting Conor Becker back in practice was a morale boost,” said Armrose. “It’s a boost to the whole team and the community to see #15 playing again. It’s great to have him out here. He could have said he wanted to heal up and be ready for wrestling. That says a lot about that young man.”
Northmor continued to keep the scoreboard operator busy in the second period, getting a 23-yard touchdown pass from Mariotti to Gavin Ramos at the 5:28 mark and a 14-yard connection between the same two athletes with 3:32 left in the half. Miller would then return a Freddie fumble for another score and it was 42-0 with under two minutes until intermission.
Fredericktown would show some signs of life in those final minutes. Terry Fearn returned the ensuing kick for a touchdown and, after a 20-yard pass from Mariotti to Miller gave the Golden Knights another score, the Freddies closed the half’s scoring with a long run by Corey Webb.
Still, Northmor led 49-14 at the intermission, so it was a running clock to open the second half. The play of the Golden Knights ensured that clock would run throughout the entirety of those final 24 minutes of action.
After forcing a fumble on Fredericktown’s first play from scrimmage, Reeder took the ball three straight times, with the final carry taking him into the end zone and giving his team a 55-14 lead. The team’s next possession would end with a Max Lower scoring run and a Tyler Boggs two-point conversion.
“It’s nice to get the young guys in and have opportunities to have success,” said Armrose. “Max Lower and Tyler Boggs had some nice runs.”
Fredericktown would add a score in the fourth quarter, but Northmor would finish the game on top by 42 points to set up their regular season finale at home with Highland — the one team that hung a loss on the Golden Knights last year in the regular season.
“The only aspect that matters is that it’s Highland and we’re really excited about that,” said Armrose. “They’re a big, strong team and they’ll give us a challenge.”
Against Fredericktown, Mariotti completed 10 passes for 204 yards. Miller caught two for 106, while Gavin Ramos had six receptions for 71. Reeder ran for 152, Boggs had 52, Lower added 51 and Becker tallied 42.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS