CLAYTON — With 33 seconds left in the first half of Northmont’s season opening football game with Winton Woods lightning started flying to send Thunderbolts fans scurrying for shelter.
Northmont was leading 15-13 when play was suspended and about an hour later the game was rescheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m.
When play resumed Saturday Winton Woods regained the lead 16-15 with 4 seconds left in the first half on a 31 yard field goal by Michael Barwick.
The Thunderbolts eventually walked away with a 32-23 victory, which shocked some who predicted Winton Woods would easily crush Northmont.
After the Warriors took the lead at the half Northmont answered late in the third quarter with quarterback Brenden Reck tossing a 14 yard completion to Kameron Mathis for a first down at the Warriors’ 34 yard line. On the next play wide receiver Jabari Perkins found himself all alone and Reck tossed a relaxed pass for a 34 yard touchdown. Nick Winchester tacked on the point after to put Northmont back on top 22-16 with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter.
Winton Woods responded with a seven play, 80 yard drive capped by a 19 yard run by Lorenzo Gist. Barwick’s point after was good to put the Warriors up 23-22 with 11:55 left in the game.
Northmont regained the lead 25-23 on a 23 yard Winchester field goal to cap a 12 play, 52 yard drive with 7:41 remaining.
The Thunderbolts caught a huge break when a punt by Winton Woods went almost straight up for a grand total of nine yards to give Northmont a first down at the Warriors’ 31. Reck tossed a 12 yard pass to Mathis for a first down at the 14 and on the next play Devin Kenerly broke several tackles to score on a 14 yard run with 4:16 left on the clock. Winchester’s point after gave the Thunderbolts a 32-23 lead that would hold.
Reck completed 13 of 25 pass attempts for 200 yards and two touchdowns. The Northmont defense also came up big limiting the Warriors to 245 yards of total offense while the Thunderbolts amassed 317.
“This is a really, really good football team,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “We are way ahead of where we were a year ago at this time and really it’s to the credit of the boys. They are just great kids. Besides the football they are good kids. I would trust them with my 5-year-old. I am very proud of them. Some of them played their guts out today. Devin Kenerly played both ways and Cameron Rucker got banged up but he played the whole game and never complained.”
The play of the defense did not go unnoticed by Broering.
“All summer we felt like we had a chance to be special on defense,” he said. “Legitimately like our 2013 team, our defensive line is real deep and athletic. Gabe Newburg was amazing today. He was doing things out on the field that no sophomore is supposed to be able to do. Our linebackers played great and so did our defensive backs. Our nickle back, A.J. Trammell, made that last interception. Our kids were ready to go and I am so proud to be their coach.”
With time waning and Winton Woods fighting to get back in the game, Trammell picked off a deep pass in the end zone and ran the ball out to the four yard line with 1:45 left. That interception sealed the victory.
Up until play was suspended Friday night the game was fairly evenly matched. Northmont virtually handed the Warriors their first touchdown. Brenden Reck completed a screen pass to Dominic Wilson but Wilson was hit hard immediately after making the catch and the ball popped into the air. Markief White plucked the ball out of the air at the 19 yard line and streaked into the end zone for the game’s first score. The extra-point was good to put Winton Woods up 7-0 with 8:36 left in the first quarter.
Winton Woods returned the favor when Cornell Beachem attempted to field a punt at his own one yard line. He bobbled the ball and Ervin Besingi pounced on the bouncing ball at the Warriors’ seven yard line. On the next play running back Devin Kenerly rumbled in for a 7 yard TD. Reck followed with a run for a two-point conversion to put the Thunderbolts on top 8-7 with 50 seconds left in the first quarter.
Northmont coughed the ball up on a fumble with Gianni Gamble making the recovery for the Warriors at the Thunderbolts’ 34. Winton Woods quarterback Kenny Mayberry faked a hand-off and ran all the way to the Northmont 8. After a penalty Mayberry tossed a 13 yard TD pass to Navar Gannaway. A bad snap on the extra-point attempt held the score at 13-8 in Winton Woods favor.
Northmont regained the lead when Reck threw a 26 yard touchdown to Logan Zerkle over the middle with 1:28 left in the first half. Nick Winchester kicked the point after to put the Thunderbolts up 15-13. With 33 seconds left in the half play was suspended.
WIN 07 09 00 07 – 23
NMT 08 07 07 10 – 32
8:36 – Winton Woods: Markief White 20 yard interception return. Michael Barwick kick. 0-7
0:50 – Northmont: Devin Kenerly 7 yard run. Two conversion run by Brenden Reck. 8-7
7:46 – Winton Woods: Kenny Mayberry 12 yard TD pass to Navar Gannaway. Point after fails. 8-13
1:28 – Northmont: Reck 26 yard TD pass to Logan Zerkle. Winchester kick. 15-13
0:04 – Winton Woods, Barwick 31 yard field goal. 15-16
2:57 – Reck 34 yard TD pass to Jabari Perkins. Winchester kick. 22-16.
11:55 – Winton Woods: Lorenzo Gist 19 yard run. Barwick kick. 22-23
7:41 – Northmont: Winchester 23 yard field goal. 25-23
4:16 – Northmont: Kenerly 14 yard run. Winchester kick. 32-23
Brenden Reck fires a pass to Dominic Wilson on a screen pass early in the first quarter.
Northmont Head Coach Tony Broering congratulates Jalen Hinton after a big play.
Jabari Perkins returns a punt as Jayden Myles moves in to make the tackle.