Northeastern's Kody Reeser was in a tight spot.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior was thrust into the starting quarterback gig on Friday evening in a battle for second-place in the YAIAA Division I standings at South Western High School.
Starting quarterback Shannon Valenti was out with concussion symptoms and backup Blake Einsig was not available for undisclosed reasons according to Northeastern coach Jon Scepanski.
Reeser filled in admirably, but South Western scored on its first three drives of the game and emerged with a 24-7 win.
"Kody did a heck of a job and did everything we asked him to do," Scepanski said. "We knew it would be a tough game with or without Shannon. It is what it is. We knew on Monday or Tuesday that Shannon wouldn't play. It's tough to go in and ask a kid to play varsity quarterback in a game like this on a few days of practice, but he handled it great. Kody is a good leader and I am pleased with his effort. He's a good kid to have in our program."
Mustangs quarterback Brock Geiman, who entered the game having surpassed 1,000 yards passing this season, threw for three touchdowns to give him 17 scores on the year.
Miles Francis caught two of the touchdown passes, including a 46-yard score on a third-and-19 play in the third quarter.
"We had a great first drive of the game (that used the first 6:42 of the game)," said South Western coach Damian Poalucci. "The first drive is so important. It's a big confidence booster when you can drive down and score, especially on a great defense. It showed us we had a chance. We could score."
South Western (7-2, 5-1 Division I) used eight different ballcarriers in the game and were paced by Robby Harbison's 12 carries for 46 yards.
"That is a nice thing in that we have so many kids we feel comfortable with (carrying the ball)," Poalucci said. "Some have different strengths than others and it gives us fresh legs. No matter who is back there, the kids up front know they just have to block and somebody is going to run the ball."
Northeastern (7-2, 4-2 Division I) came in to South Western with back-to-back wins over William Penn and Spring Grove after suffering its first loss of the season by three points at Dallastown on Oct. 9.
The Bobcats' points came on a 92-yard kickoff return in the second quarter by sophomore Taemar Willis.
The Bobcats, who have held opponents to a touchdown or less in four games this fall, had allowed just 88 points entering Friday, which is second in the league to Dallastown's 84. Northeastern had also surrendered a league-low 1,494 yards of offense entering Friday.
Northeastern held the Mustangs to 299 yards of offense, but could only manage 112 yards themselves. The passing game without Valenti suffered as Northeastern only completed one pass for nine yards in the game.
"Those guys played their tails of on defense," Scepanski said. "I am happy with that."
This year's Northeastern squad came into Friday tied with the 2012 team for the most wins in school history. The 2012 team finished 7-4 and qualified for the District 3 Class AAA playoffs under then-coach Brendan Brown. This will be the third winning season in program history, joining 2012 and 2011, when Northeastern finished at 6-5.
South Western, which is tied with Red Lion a game behind division leader Dallastown, saw the Wildcats snap a four-game winning streak on Oct. 16 and but rebounded with a 46-0 win over William Penn last week. It was the first shutout of the season by the Mustangs.
Interestingly, the Mustangs have suffered both its losses at home. Cedar Cliff handed South Western a 42-14 loss in the Mustang Corral on Sept. 11. South Western is 4-0 on the road with a game at Spring Grove remaning on the regular-season schedule
Northeastern is ranked No. 3 in the latest Class AAA power rankings while South Western is at No. 9. The top 16 teams in the final Class AAA and Class AAAA rankings qualify for districts. Saturday, Nov. 7 is the last day for regular-season games to count in the rankings.
SW — Corbin Byers 9 pass from Brock Geiman (Wes Sneeringer kick), 5:18
SW — Miles Francis 20 pass from Geiman (Sneeringer kick), 1:36
SW — Sneeringer 28 FG, 8:28
NE — Taemar Willis 92 kickoff return (Cameron Artman kick), 8:14
SW — Francis 46 pass from Geiman (Sneeringer kick), 6:41
NE SWFirst downs618 Rushes-Yards27-10346-162 Passing1-14-010-17-0Passing Yards9137 Total Yards112299 Punts5-30.44-30.75 Fumbles-Lost4-11-0 Penalties-Yards5-586-69
Rushing — NE, Kody Reeser 15-54, Anu Johnson 8-38, Chris Whack 4-11. SW, Robby Harbison 12-46, Zack Hughes 11-31, Jeff Green 6-34, Mike Johnson 6-25, Brock Geiman 4-13, Miles Francis 3-9, Jacob Muir 3-6, Kyle Davis 1-(-2).
Passing — NE, Reeser 1-12-9, Whack 0-1-0, Brandon Arentz 0-1-0-0. SW, Geiman 10-17-137-0.
Receiving — NE, Jordan Zirkle 1-9. SW, Francis 2-66, Corbin Byers 2-28, Noah Staub 2-25, Hughes 2-10, Green 2-8.