By Ron Nunnari
CLAYTON — For the second week in a row Northmont faced an opponent with a top notch quarterback and for the second week in a row the results were disastrous for the Thunderbolts.
Saturday the Thunderbolts faced Fairfield and its senior quarterback Hunter Krause, who entered the game with 2,745 passing yards, just 42 short of the school career record of 2,787 set by Derek Ball in 2004-05. Krause completed 16 of 24 pass attempts against Northmont for 304 yards and three touchdowns to help lead the Indians to a 39-21 victory.
With the win Fairfield improves to 2-0 while Northmont falls to 0-2.
The Thunderbolts got off on the wrong foot by getting trapped in their own end zone for a safety with 6:43 left in the first quarter. Less than a minute later Krause scored on a 15-yard quarterback keeper to put the Indians up 9-0.
Krause then threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Will Cornwall with 7:17 remaining in the first half to boost the lead to 16-0.
Northmont finally scored on a seven yard run by Avery Miliner with Nick Winchester adding the extra point to make it 16-7 with 2:53 left in the half, but that was more than enough time for Fairfield to score again. Krause completed a 44 yard pass to T.C. Wells to give Fairfield a first down at Northmont’s 16 and four plays later Krause scored on a two yard run to put the Indians up 23-7 with 52 seconds remaining in the half.
With less than 20 seconds left Fairfield blocked a Northmont punt and recovered the ball at the Thunderbolts 15 yard line. Two plays later Krause hit Alex Kaminsky for a 15-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the half to give Fairfield a comfortable 30-7 lead.
Northmont caught a break on a fourth down punt when Fairfield got called for roughing the kicker to give the Bolts a first down at the Indians’ 28. A pass interference call gave Northmont a first down at the 15 and four plays later Miliner scored on a one yard run. Winchester added the point after to cut Fairfield’s lead to 30-14 with 7:18 left in the third quarter.
Krause connected with Cornwall for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 2:42 remaining in the third stanza. The pass was tipped into the air but Cornwall kept his eye on the ball and gathered it in as he fell to the ground to put Fairfield up 37-14.
Northmont got one more touchdown when Donavin Wallace threw a 15-yard pass to Brenden Jewsikow with 8:59 left in the game to make it 37-21. The score was set up by a screen pass to Miliner who scampered 40 yards to the Fairfield 19.
Fairfield tacked on another safety by trapping punter Nick Winchester in the end zone with 3:56 left to make the final tally, 39-21.
Special teams play really hurt Northmont in the loss. Northmont called for fair catch on a punt late in the fourth quarter but then let the ball bounce and roll to the three yard line. Coupled with the two safeties it was not a good day for the special teams.
“We had some issues today on punts and punt returns, but I will have to watch the films to really evaluate what went wrong,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “The defense played well enough to win again, and the offense showed glimpses of some really good things both running and throwing the ball, but if you can’t punt you can’t win.”
Broering noted that if a team blocks one punt against you, the odds of winning are only 15 percent. If two punts are blocked, forget it.
“If you take a safety and then not field a punt, that means we have a lot of special teams stuff to work on come Monday,” Broering added. “I am proud of the boys. It would have been very easy to come out in the second half and lay down and not keep fighting. Instead, they came out and really fought and I was very proud of them on both sides of the ball. Our defense kept fighting until the very end and the offense showed that they can do some things well.”
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind