CLAYTON — Junior wide receiver Marcus Allen had a breakout game Friday on Hall of Fame Night with four receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns to help lead Northmont to a 28-14 victory over Fairmont.
Allen caught a short pass in the right flat and then raced 78 yards for a one touchdown in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter caught a 42 yard touchdown to cap the victory.
“They were triple covering Justin Golson, and rightfully so,” said Northmont coach Tony Broering. “I mean, I would roll the coverage to him if I was their coach and double and triple him because he is that good. He is a special player. But, the scary thing about our offense is if you do that you have to deal with Jazz Keys, De’Shaun Harewood and Marcus Allen. This was like Marcus’s coming out party tonight. He had a great game last week (three receptions, 79 yards, one TD) but we put some special plays in for him tonight.”
Broering noted that all of Fairmont’s previous games were against teams that run an option base offense, so he wasn’t sure what kind of defense the Firebirds would use.
“We kind of had an idea that they would roll all of their coverage to Golson, so we worked really hard to focus on Allen and Harewood,” Broering said.
Harewood caught a 21 yard touchdown on hitch pass in the first quarter to put the Thunderbolts on top 7-0.
“I was really happy to see Harewood score. He has been working so hard and early in the season he has had some ups and downs, so I was happy to see him get his first touchdown because he is a great kid,” Broering said.
Senior quarterback Keaton Kesling was solid completing 15 of 18 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns. Kesling also tossed four TDs and had 352 yards passing last week at Pickerington North after struggling in a first game loss to Dublin Coffman, which Broering claims responsibility for.
“I did not do a good enough job week one,” Broering said. “I did not do what I normally do and I felt terrible about it. I got back in and changed some things up that I was doing and refocused my energy in a positive way for the boys, so that loss was on me. Ever since then the kids have responded and have played wonderful and I am very proud of them.”
Broering recounted the fact that when he first came to Northmont as an assistant coach in 2009, the only two names he heard about was Donavin Wallace and Keaton Kesling. Unfortunately Kesling had to wait until his senior season to start at quarterback when Miles Johnson transferred into the district from Fairmont. Johnson knew Fairmont was a run oriented team and wanted to be able to throw the ball.
The Firebirds’ offense hasn’t changed. Fairmont threw only two passes the entire night against Northmont and ran the ball 62 times for 233 yards. Tank Gant did most of the work with 36 carries for 144 yards and one touchdown.
“Kesling could of not been a good teammate, because he could have played the last two years,” Broering noted. “We had Miles and so Kesling played receiver and backup quarterback, learned the offense and kept working and waited his turn so I am happy for him.”
Broering pointed out that in order to win in the Greater Western Ohio Conference you need those kinds of players.
“That’s how you win in this league. You have to have those boys who are willing to put the work in and then when they get their chance, they excel,” Broering added. “Senior outside linebacker Breant Kendall is a good example of that. Last year Dylan Gau was an example of that. You know, they don’t get to play until their senior year and then they play lights out.”
After Northmont took a 7-0 lead on Harewood’s 21 yard pass reception Fairmont responded with a 14 play drive capped by Gant scoring a on a four yard run. Will Holt’s point after tied the game 7-7 with 8:40 left in the first half.
Northmont regained the lead on a four yard pass to Golson with four minutes left in the first half. Brandon Goodwin’s second extra-point of the night gave the Thunderbolts a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Allen’s 78 yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and Goodwin’s third PAT kick boosted the Thunderbolts’ lead to 21-7. Allen then caught a 42 yard TD pass and Goodwin’s fourth kick of the night boosted the lead to 28-7.
Fairmont’s final score came on a one yard run by Colin McLaughlin with 2:02 remaining.