Mother Nature didn’t exactly provide ideal football conditions in the opening round of the IHSAA Football Sectionals at Northwood High School as it was a rematch of familiar NLC foes, Plymouth and Northwood. The Panthers kicked a game-winning field goal by Brendon Widner with 39 seconds left to defeat the Plymouth Rockies 17-13. The Rockies season ends at 7-3.
“This one hurts.”, said Barron. “We had some key turnovers but it was the penalties that I’m not happy with. We had 8 penalties for 121 yards to Northwood’s 3 penalties and just 18 yards. I have watched the film on every single penalty issued to us, and with respect to this crew, they made calls that were crucial in this game that should of never been called. They simply missed making a correct call or in most cases a “No” call. One of the calls erased a touchdown for us! Those decisions were disappointing watch on the film.”
Plymouth started the game well by scoring on thier first two possessions to jump out to a two touchdown lead 13-0 before Northwood answered with a score of their own at the tail end of the first quarter making the score 13-6 after one quarter. That score held into halftime and even after the third quarter.
“I wasn’t comfortable with them still within striking distance. It was a defensive battle midway through the fourth quarter until things unraveled for us.”, said Barron.
Northwood went on to score 11 points in the final 5 minutes of the ballgame to get the win.
“We had trouble stopping their fullback (Blake Cleveland) in the fourth quarter. Our Outside Linebacker was getting taken out on their “Veer” play which eventually allowed their second touchdown score”, added Barron.
Plymouth blocked the extra point making the score 13-12 Plymouth with 4:57 left. On the next possession Plymouth had a drive going until the unthinkable happened with Ike Kastner lost a wet football turning it over to Northwood for the final minutes. Northwood went to Cleveland numerous times to get it to the goal-line. Plymouth’s defense frustrated Northwood three times inside the five yard line until a 4th and goal from the one with 39 seconds remaining, forcing Northwood to kick the game-winning field goal by Brenden Widner from 17 yards out.
A late Northwood safety by the Panther defense with 8 seconds left, sealed the game for Northwood.
Plymouth’s season finishes at 7-3 and C0-Champs of the NLC. A title not won since 2009.