The Northwestern Trojans survived an early blow from Westwood and shut down its running game, while using a quick-strike offense to prevail 49-21 over the Redhawks Friday night at District Three Stadium. The Trojans will now play for a trip to the Class 4A Division II state championship next week.
With the game tied 7-7, the Redhawks were on the Trojans’ 27 after a 35-yard pass play. Quarterback Jalen Smith then fumbled with 4:23 to go in the first quarter, and Gage Maloney hit Julian Shockley for a 73-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the next play for a momentum-grabbing 14-7 lead.
On Westwood’s next possession, they drove to the Trojan 40, but were stopped on fourth-and-2 for a one-yard loss. Three plays later, on the first play of the second quarter, Jerry Howard went 34 yards up the gut to make it 21-7 Trojans.
The vaunted Westwood running attack, with their massive offensive line, could never get going. The Redhawks amassed 111 yards on 41 rushes for a 2.7 yards-per-carry average. Rudy Mitchell carried 17 times for 93 yards and a touchdown, with 46 of that coming on the touchdown run halfway through the fourth quarter. Mitchell had more than 400 yards last week alone.
Gage Moloney was 23-of-27 for 333 yards and five touchdown passes. Two of those scoring tosses went to freshman wideout Jamario Holley, who had 11 grabs for 133 yards. Julian Shockley also had two touchdown catches among his six receptions for 114 yards, as the Trojans put two receivers over the century mark. They also had a runner in the 100-yard club with Jerry Howard totaling 117 yards on only nine carries. He had scoring runs of 41 and 34 yards.
Junior defensive end Logan Rudolph, who seems to get another college offer every day, did not see a lot of action as a precaution with a hurt wrist. Rudolph had a large club on that hand but should be good to go for next week.
Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson on Trojan defense: “Our defense really this week they felt they were disrespected. All the talk was about their offense and not a lot of talk about what our defense has done this year. We really didn’t have to get them up for this game. They wanted to make a statement and I think they did.”
On one-play drives: “It’s really just the way it works out. We don’t ever talk about we want to strike in one play.
On next week: “I told the team it doesn’t matter who the opponent is, it’s still going to be a big-time semifinal game.”
Northwestern will host Nation Ford in the 4A Division II semifinals next Friday.
Northwestern 46, Westwood 7
W – Andrew Plante 2 run (Brandon Howard kick) 8:30
NW – Jamario Holley 9 pass from Gage Moloney (Thomas Gettys kick) 5:52
NW – Julian Shockley 73 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick) 4:09
NW – Jerry Howard 34 run (Gettys kick) 11:52
NW – Jordan Starkes 2 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick) 5:52
W – Plante 1 run (Howard kick) 21.8
NW – Howard 41 run (Gettys kick) 10:50
NW – Shockley 4 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick) 8:30
NW – Holley 38 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick) 45.2
NW – Rudy Mitchell 46 run (Howard kick) 6:50
RUSHING Northwestern: Jerry Howard 9-117; Gage Moloney 3-14; Dequez Harris 3-10; Will Hagood 2-(-11); Brandon Ashley 1-4; Malik Hinton 2-0. Westwood: Rudy Mitchell 17-93; Jalen Smith 15-10; Andrew Plante 8-6; Deuntrey Gallman 1-2.
PASSING Northwestern: Maloney 23-27-0-5. Hagood 1-2-0-0. Westwood: Smith 9-16-1-0.
RECEIVING Northwestern Jordan Starkes 3-22; Julian Shockley 6-114; Jamario Holley 11-133; Howard 1-41; Harris 2-23; Cory McCoy 1-(-1). Westwood: Gallman 1-13; Willie McConnel 1-35; Montre Miller 3-81; Mitchell 2-9; Malik Griffin 2-21.
RECORDS Northwestern 12-1; Laurens 9-4.