Fredericktown was able to hang with visiting Northmor throughout the first half in their Friday night football contest, but 20 straight second half points by the Golden Knights was able to boost them to a 34-13 win that improved them to 2-3 on the year, giving them their first KMAC win in the process.
“It feels really good,” said Northmor head coach Scott Armrose after the game had concluded. “We went out and did what we had to do. Mistakes and turnovers and penalties — that had cost us, but we took care of that.”
Northmor received the opening kickoff and wasted no time in taking an early lead behind the legs of quarterback Marcus Cortez and running back Niko Christo. On their drive, Christo had three carries for 26 yards and Cortez added three for 33, including a 25-yard run for the team’s first touchdown. Caleb Schnuerer added the extra point kick to make it 7-0 with only 2:30 having elapsed in the opening period.
Fredericktown would come back to hold onto the ball for about five minutes on their first drive, but turned it over on downs on the Northmor 30. However, the Golden Knights could not take advantage and were forced to punt the ball.
Once again, the Freddies would have a long drive and this time, they were able to put it into the end zone. Jeremiah McKinley concluded a 14-play drive with a short touchdown run. However, a two-point conversion attempt failed, allowing Northmor to still hold a 7-6 lead with 6:20 left in the first half.
It took less than two minutes for the Golden Knights to add to that advantage, as Max Lower took a handoff 48 yards for points and Schnuerer’s extra point made it 14-6, which is how it stayed going into the half.
Armrose stated that Lower, a powerful sophomore, is a player with a ton of talent who just needs more seasoning, noting that he missed a lot of summer work due to a baseball injury.
“The sky’s the limit for Max,” he said. “He’s still young at 15 years old and still trying to learn the game. We know he has the ability, but he’s still learning the game.”
Armrose had similar comments about his team’s defense, which played a bend-but-don’t-break style for a good chunk of the game. However, things were different in the third quarter.
The Golden Knights forced a three-and-out on the half-opening drive, which led to the team getting another quick score. Cortez hit Lower for a 29-yard gain and then, after a seven-yard run by Christo, the junior quarterback called his own number and took the ball the final 36 yards. Another PAT and it was 21-6.
“Marcus is a tough kid,” said Armrose of his quarterback. “He’s a wrestler who plays with that wrestler mentality. He’s gradually improved every week.”
Cortez would add a couple more big plays before the quarter had ended. He ended Fredericktown’s next drive with an interception and then took the ball from Northmor’s 36 to the Freddie 29 with a 35-yard scramble. Facing second-and-13 from the 32, he hit Trenton Ramos for 21 yards to set up an 11-yard Lower scoring run. A Schnuerer kick later and it was 28-6 late in the third.
Fredericktown would follow with their best drive of the second half, but it ended with a Ramos interception after 13 plays and 41 yards.
Once again, Northmor proved capable of quickly moving the ball, with Lower running three times for 60 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown run that made it 34-6 with just under six minutes to play.
Fredericktown would score the game’s final touchdown, as Kaid Carpenter stripped a Northmor back and ran it back for points.
Cortez threw for 83 yards on six completions and added 116 rushing yards in the game. Lower led the team’s ground attack with 119 yards, while Tyler Boggs ran for 42 and Christo tallied 41. Griffin Workman had three catches for 31 yards, Lower had one for 30 and Ramos added two for 22.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS