T-Bolts defeat Fairfield
By Ron Nunnari
CLAYTON — A pair of big defensive plays and a long touchdown run by Devin Kenerly helped lift Northmont to its first victory of the season Friday at home 28-21 over Fairfield.
Trailing 9-0 after a 30 yard field goal by Fairfield’s Nick Maddy and 63 yard punt return by Raqwon Williams the Thunderbolts got their first score. Kenerly took a handoff and raced down the left sideline 83 yards for a touchdown. Kenerly finished the night with 184 yards on 19 carries. Brandon Goodwin kicked the point after to cut the Indians’ lead to 9-7.
Fairfield increased its lead to 15-9 on a one yard run by Malik Vann with 11 minutes left in the first half to cap an 11 play, 50 yard drive.
Northmont wasted no time countering that score by covering 60 yards in five plays capped by a seven yard touchdown pass from Miles Johnson to Donavin Wallace. Goodwin’s kick cut Fairfield’s lead to 15-14 with 9:43 remaining in the first half.
The Indians mounted a 13 play, 67 yard drive with Vann scoring from two yards out to boost their lead to 21-14, but for the third time Fairfield failed to convert the extra-point attempt.
Northmont’s big break came late in the third quarter. With 3:27 left in the quarter Dylan Moran blocked a punt by Erik All and Logan Jewsikow grabbed the ball and took it into the end zone from five yards out. Goodwin’s kick tied the game 21-21.
Fairfield returned the ensuing kickoff to its own 40 and drove the ball to the Northmont 22. On third down and three Jason Zile nailed Fairfield running back Chico Robinson for a five yard loss and on fourth down Danny Lewis broke up a pass to give Northmont possession at its own 27.
From there the Thunderbolts mounted a drive to score the go-ahead and winning touchdown. On third down and two Kenerly broke loose to a 32 yard run to give Northmont a first down at Fairfield’s 23 yard line. On fourth down and two from the 15 Johnson completed a pass to Drake Hickman for a first and goal at the nine. Johnson then connected with Hickman for a nine yard touchdown pass and Goodwin’s kick put Northmont up 28-21.
With 3:26 remaining Fairfield began a drive from its 30 and made it to the Northmont eight yard line where the Thunderbolts came up with another big defensive play. On third and goal a low snap from center landed at the feet of Fairfield quarterback Jeff Tyus. Bryan Heyward fought off a block and pounced on the loose ball before Tyus could snatch it up with one minute remaining to seal the victory.
“Fairfield has a lot of weapons and they are a very good football team,” said Northmont Coach Tony Broering. “Their quarterback is very good and Chico Robinson is a very skilled player that hurt us on some kicks and pass receptions. What we did at the end on the last drive was, we really haven’t practiced it very much this week but we’ve had it in our game plan all summer, where we get into a nickel defense and we take one of our extra cornerbacks who covers one guy man-to-man and everybody else plays a zone coverage behind him. When we went with the nickel defense it kind of threw them off and stopped them from scoring.”
It was hard for Broering to single out one particular play or player because there were too many contributors to the victory and too many key plays. He did however note the punt block as a key factor in the win.
“Dylan Moran got a big punt block and Logan Jewsikow rumbled it in for the score,” Broering noted. “The defense was great. I can’t say enough about Coach Fister, Coach Brands, Coach Stanley and Coach Mangen… they had the defense playing great. They were up against the wall all night. We turned the ball over a little bit, so they played their hearts out and our coaches coached their hearts out for sure. I am very blessed to have such a great staff and I can’t say enough about them. They are great guys and they work hard. They were in here last weekend from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday to make sure the kids were prepared for this game because they want to do their best for the boys, and they did. The boys played their hearts out. You saw it. They played great. There are so many guys that played so great I don’t even know who to talk about. It was a total team effort.”
Next Friday the Thunderbolts travel to Tipp City to face the Red Devils at 7 p.m.