The story for Northmor in the Saturday night playoff game against visiting Loudonville was turnovers.
Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, they were on the wrong side of a 4-1 turnover count and the end result was a 35-14 loss to their future KMAC rival.
“Mistakes and turnovers and penalties,” said Northmor coach Scott Armrose. “When things aren’t going your way, that’s what happens.”
Neither team scored in the first quarter. Northmor punted on their first drive, but ended a Loudonville possession by getting an interception from Marcus Cortez. The Golden Knights then turned the ball over on downs on the Redbird 27. Loudonville then slowly drove the ball down the field, relying on the legs of running back Sam Williams-Dixon for most of the work.
When the first quarter ended, the Redbirds had advance the ball to the Northmor six. On the first play of the second period, Williams-Dixon took the ball the rest of the way to give his team a 7-0 lead.
Northmor looked to even up the score on their next possession, as Cortez immediately scrambled for 30 yards to put the ball on the Redbird 35. However, on their next play, the team fumbled the ball and their opponents recovered.
Loudonville would make Northmor pay for that mistake, as they went 68 yards in six plays, with Williams-Dixon running 35 yards to give his team a 14-0 advantage with 9:42 to go in the half.
The next Northmor drive looked like the previous one. Max Lower had runs of 12 and 29 yards to help move the ball to the Loudonville 18, but a holding penalty pushed them back to the 36 and they would fumble the ball back to the Redbirds on the next play.
This time, though, they were able to stop their opponents at the 50 and regain possession at midfield. After two short runs, a 33-yard pass to Trenton Ramos moved them to the 15. Five plays later, Cortez called his own number and ran four yards for points. Caleb Schnuerer added the extra point and Loudonville’s lead was cut in half late in the second quarter.
Armrose felt his team did a good job of moving the ball, but cost themselves potential points with those mistakes.
“We felt like it’d be a close football game,” he said. “We ran the ball very well in the first half and we should have scored three times in the first half.”
The game would get closer in the third quarter. After forcing Loudonville to turn the ball over on downs at the Golden Knight 29, Northmor was able to drive down the field behind the legs of Cortez and Niko Christo. Cortez scored from 22 yards out and Schnuerer added the point-after kick to tie the game at 14.
Both teams would trade punts a couple times, but Northmor found themselves losing out on the field position battle, starting two straight drives from inside their 10.
“Two drives in the second half, we’re pinned inside our five,” said Armrose. “It was a tied game at that point and we didn’t want to get too creative.”
The end result was a short field for Loudonville after that second drive, which led to a 26-yard scoring run by Williams-Dixon to put his team on top 21-14 with 7:23 left in the game.
Northmor got to the Redbird 21 on their next drive, but turned it over on downs. They were able to force a punt, but couldn’t field the ball and turned it back over to Loudonville on their 25, setting up another Williams-Dixon touchdown to make it a two-score game with 2:26 to go. The Redbirds then added a late score on a pick-six by Kyle Maltarich to provide the final margin of victory for Loudonville.
Cortez ran for 96 yards and passed for 74 in the game, while Lower added 52 more on the ground. Ramos caught four passes for 51 yards and Griffin Workman added three for 21.
Now that their playoff run is over, Northmor will look to get their players a few more regular season games to try to end the 2020 season on a positive note. They are tentatively scheduled to play at Black River on Friday.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get three games,” said Armrose. “We want to play — these boys love football.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS