Big burst powers Northeastern past South Western
Northeastern stayed on course to host a playoff game by running South Western into the ground Friday night.
The Bobcats racked up 159 first-half rushing yards to take a big lead, then capped things off with a long kickoff return touchdown to trounce the Mustangs at home, 31-0.
Northeastern (7-2, 4-2 YAIAA Division I) came into the game ranked third in District 3 Class 5A, with the top four teams earning a home playoff game.
The Bobcats held a 7-0 lead when they ripped off a 24-point burst in a span of 6:47 to pull away. Chris Whack, who rushed for 100 yards on the night, started the momentum shift in the second quarter by recovering a South Western fumble at the Mustangs' 14. Hayden Seifert edged a 33-yard field goal just inside the left upright to extend the Northeastern lead to 10-0.
South Western (4-5, 3-3) couldn't take advantage of a pair of 15-yard penalties on its next drive and punted. Whack then broke a tackle on Northeastern's next play to turn a 5-yard gain into a 38-yarder, and a 14-yard Anu Johnson run put the Bobcats once again in field-goal range.
This time, Northeastern found the end zone on Fred Mulbah's 22-yard run for the 17-0 advantage with 2:25 until halftime. Three plays into the Mustangs' next drive, Wyatt Hughes picked off quarterback Sean Wolfe and took it to 31 yards to the house for a 24-0 halftime score.
Taemar Willis ran the opening second-half kickoff back 90 yards to complete the scoring.
South Western stiffened for two late goal-line stands, keeping the Bobcats from an even greater rout. But a failed goal-line stand on Northeastern's opening drive gave the Bobcats the early lead. Anu Johnson picked up 32 yards on seven carries to move them down the field, and Shamari Young put the Bobcats up 7-0 on a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal.
South Western's defense came through on Northeastern's second drive, however. Johnson converted a fourth-and-1 to keep the drive alive, but Whack fumbled at the Mustangs' 22, where Tom Aumen recovered.
Northeastern held South Western to just 68 total yards and no third-down conversions.
Northeastern travels to New Oxford on Friday, while South Western finishes its season at home versus Spring Grove.
NE -- Shamari Young 1 run (Hayden Seifert kick), 4:09
NE – Seifert 33-field goal, 6:34
NE -- Fred Mulbah 22 run (Seifert kick), 2:25
NE -- Wyatt Hughes 31 interception return (Seifert kick), :53.7
NE -- Taemar Willis 90 kickoff return (Seifert kick), 11:47
Rushing — South Western, Delunche Shaw 10-44, Drew Hartlaub 4-12, Grayson Wingert 1-8, Thaddeus Davis 4-7, Telan Moore 1-(-4), Sean Wolfe 4-(-23). Northeastern, Chris Whack 12-100, Anu Johnson 27-84, Shannon Valenti 7-47, Fred Mulbah 2-26, Coby Motley 2-5, Shamari Young 1-1.
Passing — South Western, Wolfe 5-8-1-24. Northeastern, Valenti 3-8-0-35.
Receiving — South Western, Hartlaub 3-17, Shaw 1-4, Carson Perry 1-3. Northeastern, Mason Kling 1-26, Jonathen Butler 1-13, Kyler Controneo 1-(-4).