Despite struggling offensively for much of the game and shooting themselves in the foot on special teams, Northmor still had a chance to win on the road against Fredericktown until the Freddies were able to recover a late onside kick and run out the clock in a 22-15 contest.
Field position woes played a big role in keeping Northmor off the board for much of the game. After forcing a fumble in their territory and getting 15 more yards due to a Freddie penalty, the Golden Knights started their final possession of the first half on their 42 with just under two minutes to go. Previously, their possessions started on their 15, 10, 23 and 5, with three of those four resulting in the team going three-and-out.
Their second possession, which started on their 10, had promise, with sophomore quarterback A.J. Bower hitting Griffin Healea for 11 and four yards and Paul Cramer adding 16 yards on four carries. However, the drive stalled on their 38 and Northmor would have to punt.
“We couldn’t control the line of scrimmage,” said head coach Scott Armrose. “It’s the same thing that happened last week. We’re just not there yet. We’re not to the point were we’re going to be able to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball and as the offensive coordinator, that’s my fault and we’re going to have to fix that.”
Fortunately for the Golden Knights, their defense did not break. They forced a midfield punt on the game-opening drive by Fredericktown and then got a Carson Campbell interception after the Freddies advanced to their 18 on their next drive. They would make it into Northmor territory on their final three drives of the half, but would be stopped each time.
However, they would still hold a slim lead going into the half. Midway through the second quarter on a Northmor punt attempt, the snap sailed over the kicker’s head and went out of the end zone for a safety that granted the Freddies a 2-0 lead heading into the half.
They would add to that lead throughout the third quarter because of Golden Knight mistakes. On Northmor’s first drive, Bower was picked off by Logan Small to set up a 51-yard touchdown pass from Ben Mast to Grant Hartley. Trailing 9-0, the Golden Knights were able to move the ball into Fredericktown territory on the strength of three passes to C.J. Stoney for 21 yards and one to Bo Landin for 10.
However, a pair of sacks put them back on their 30 and the team was then victimized by another bad snap on a punt attempt to set the Freddies up on the Northmor 26 to set up a five-yard touchdown run by Teegan Ruhl, who passed the 1000-yard mark for the season in the game.
Armrose noted that Fredericktown had too many short fields offensively due to miscues by his team.
“Short fields because of mistakes we made,” he said. “We were sloppy on special teams. When your offense is slow and you want to win football games with tough defense, you can’t turn the ball over and make mistakes on special teams like we did.”
Over the final four minutes of the third quarter and in the fourth period, Northmor picked things up on offense to get back into the game. Taking the ball on their 20, the team got 31 yards on five carries by Caleb Schnuerer and then Bower’s arm moved the team the rest of the way.
After taking a sack, he hit Landin for 12 yards, Stoney for eight and Healea for eight more before finding Landin for a 28-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Trailing 15-7, Northmor got a big play when Campbell picked off his second pass of the game to give the Golden Knights the ball on their 32. However, they couldn’t get anything going on offense and followed that up with another bad snap on a punt attempt. The Freddies would take advantage of great field position to score on a short run by Kaid Carpenter to lead 22-7 with 4:32 left.
Northmor wasn’t done yet, though. Bower passed the team down the field and hit Healea for a five-yard touchdown and then connected with Stoney for a two-point conversion to bring the Golden Knights within seven with 1:37 to go.
Unfortunately for the locals, they couldn’t convert the onside kick and the Freddies were able to run out the clock and drop Northmor to 4-2, 1-2 in KMAC play.
Bower hit on 22-of-40 passes for 232 yards with Healea catching six for 46, Landin having five for 69 and Stoney adding five for 42. Schnuerer had 49 receiving yards on two catches and added 42 on the ground.
With two league losses, Armrose noted his team’s goals will have to shift a bit, but added that they have a lot to play for.
“We’re not going to be league champs this year; that’s not going to happen,” he said. “We still desire to play week 11 — postseason play — and have big games, rivalry games. We’re going to keep working hard and get better and fight to the end.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS