York, PA - The first drive took 3:19. Northeastern went 73 yards in seven plays and scored on an 11-yard run by Daniel Adams.
The touchdown gave the Bobcats early lead Friday night against West York in a District 3 Class AAA first-round playoff game.
But, on the Bobcats' second drive, receiver Joe Beckhardt got injured and didn't return. That seemed to change the momentum of the game.
"He had a high ankle sprain, and he couldn't come back," Northeastern head coach Brendan Brown said.
Beckhardt's loss was felt on both sides of the ball.
"He locked down Zack Smith last time, and that was our game plan to man him up on him," Brown said. "We felt like Zack Smith couldn't beat
Smith finished with three touchdowns on the night and 173 receiving yards as the second-seeded Bulldogs ended the No. 15 Bobcats' season for a second straight year with a 49-20 win.
"A lot of those guys were here on this field last year in that playoff game. We did have expectations, to be back in a situation like this," Brown said. "A lot of things have to go right in order for that to happen. You have to get some breaks and stay healthy, and we stayed pretty healthy most of the season.
"Unfortunately the roof came crashing in tonight with injuries."
Star Bobcats running back Adams carried the bulk of the offensive load. Adams carried the ball nine straight times during the Bobcats' first drive of the second quarter.
Adams, who had the fourth most rushing yards (1,354) in the league during the regular season, finished with 27 carries in the first half of Friday's game.
"We are pretty much a run-based team," Adams said. "We thought we could run the ball."
But the senior had been dealing with a left calf injury for two weeks, and it slowed him the rest of the game.
Adams carried the ball just twice in the second half and finished with two touchdowns and 121 yards on 29 carries in what turned out to be his final high school game.
"You just have to keep playing, no matter what happens," Adams said. "A football team is a family. I love those guys."
Northeastern senior quarterback Alec Miller finished Friday's game with 83 passing yards and 24 rushing yards. Miller scored on a 43-yard run during the fourth quarter.
"This year definitely hurt more," Miller said of Friday's loss.
Northeastern set a program record with seven wins this year and finished 7-4 behind a strong senior class.
"It rotated, there were 17 of them (senior players), and it went week to week," Brown said of the
There were seven juniors listed on Northeastern's roster Friday, one of them being Jordan Kearse, who carried the ball three times for 4 yards.
Kearse is ready for the challenge of being a leader next season.
"I take everything from each senior and use it to build leadership roles," Kearse said. "Daniel (Adams) has been one of the best role models for me. I'm happy to be his backup. Next year we just have to get it done."
One of Kearse's goals for next year is to beat the team that Northeastern has become quite familiar with the past two seasons.
"Hopefully we can beat West York," Kearse said. "I told the young guys, we got two weeks, and we're back in the weight room."
With back-to-back district appearances, the Bobcats are eager to prepare for next year.
"There are a lot of good young players in this program," Brown said. "There's a lot of good, young talent. The young guys are hungry already."