GALION — On a mild but rainy Friday evening, the Northmor Golden Knights welcomed the Lucas Cubs to their home field to put a wrap on the non-conference portion of their 2018 football schedule.
Both teams entered the contest at a perfect 2-0 but it would be the hosting Knights that move on to week four still undefeated after handing the Cubs a 36-16 loss. For Northmor, they will begin Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference play on the road next Friday at the Fredericktown Freddies. Lucas plays an independent schedule and will also be on the road next week at Troy Christian.
The game began with Northmor receiving a squib kick from the visitors to start their first possession of the contest on their own 39-yard line. The Golden Knights’ first drive consumed a large portion of the clock and on the 12th play, running back Conor Becker punched in a one-yard score to put Northmor up and with the Nate Ruhl extra-point, it was 7-0 in favor of the home team.
Lucas’ first possession began at their own 30-yard line and would see the Cubs drive deep into Knights’ territory, all the way down to the four-yard line. However, after stout defense from the black and gold, the visitors would be unable to convert on fourth and goal, leading to a turnover on downs. Luckily though for Lucas, Northmor’s offense could not get much going which led to a three and out. On the punt attempt, the snap would sail high and out of the back of the endzone to put the Cubs on the board via a safety. As the first quarter came to a conclusion, it was 7-2 in favor of Northmor.
On the ensuing possession that began towards the end of the first, the Golden Knights would record their first of two interceptions of quarterback Logan Niswander on the evening, giving them solid field position at their own 40. It would not take long for the home squad to get on the board again as Hunter Mariotti dropped back and found Becker running his route, making the grab and taking it 50 yards for the score. Another Ruhl extra-point and Northmor was up by a dozen at 14-2.
Hoping to cut into the Knights’ lead, the Cubs began their drive but would see it end abruptly as Gavin Ramos picked-off Niswander to give the ball back to Northmor. The offense would be unable to get anything going and would be forced to punt from their own 20-yard line. Punter Blake Miller bombed a 61-yard punt, thanks to a generous bounce, to pin Lucas deep in their own territory. But Lucas running back Jeb Grover proved that any field position could be good field position and rambled-off a 50-yard touchdown run and capped the drive by converting the two-point conversion to put the Cubs within striking distance at 14-10.
With just 1:02 remaining in the first half, the Knights would strike again via a 24-yard aerial strike from Mariotti to Becker and with the Ruhl PAT, Northmor would close out the first 24 minutes of play up by a tally of 21-10.
Lucas started the second half with the ball and driving. After beginning the third quarter from their own 36, the Cubs would march the ball all the way down to the redzone before turning the ball over on downs again at the eight-yard line. With Northmor taking over, it took the Golden Knights just four plays to get on the scoreboard again after Becker busted through the line en route to a 92-yard touchdown run. The home team moved ahead 28-10 after another Ruhl PAT.
Grover showed that he would not be outdone from the backfield and took the ball to the house on a 56-yard touchdown run for the Cubs. Lucas would be unable to convert the two-point conversion and trailed 28-16 with 4:16 remaining in the third period.
With time not on their side, the visitors attempted an onside kick that would trickle out of bounds, giving Northmor possession at the Lucas 42-yard line. On the third play of that particular drive, Mariotti would send a deep pass along the sideline that would be corralled by Gavin Ramos despite the airtight defense. Ramos was off to the races, scoring the 41-yard touchdown and with the Ruhl extra-point, the Golden Knights went up by the eventual final score of 36-16.
In the final frame, Lucas would drive deep into Northmor’s side of the field but, for the third time in the game, turn the ball over on downs inside of the five-yard line. After eating up most of the clock in the fourth, the Knights moved to 3-0 heading into their conference schedule.
On the night, Lucas would post 256 yards of total offense (27 passing, 229 rushing) to Northmor’s 340 (168 passing, 172 rushing). As far as penalties go, the Knights committed eight fouls leading to 75 yards while the Cubs committed just four for 30 yards. The visitors earned a total of 16 first downs, three more than the home squad. Niswander threw the two picks for Lucas while Northmor had one turnover on a botched punt return.
Becker had himself a game, posting 175 yards on 29 carries, good for two scores on the ground. Becker also had three receptions for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Lucas’ back, Grover, carried the ball 26 times en route to 233 yards and both of the Cubs’ touchdowns.
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