Northview scored on its first three possessions on Senior Night and Cancer Awareness Night, then overcame some big plays by West Vigo for a 42-21 Western Indiana Conference victory at Northview High School.
Northview moved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the WIC going into next week’s showdown game next week at Brown County.
“I think our kids responded well [after last week’s loss]. I’m happy with how they responded. I’m happy our seniors can walk of the field feeling good about it,” Northview coach Mark Raetz said.
West Vigo coach Jeff Cobb, unhappy with the loss, saw some positives in the Vikings.
“I’m proud of our players. I saw a lot of kids grow up tonight. I thought they competed tonight,” Cobb said.
Northview took a 21-7 lead in the opening quarter with kicker Trey Boor setting up two of the scores. Boor put two kickoffs in the end zone for touchback and the Vikings had to start from their own 20-yard line.
“That make everybody’s job easier,” Raetz said.
Northview’s Boor booted the opening kickoff into the end zone for a touchback. Starting from its own 20-yard line, West Vigo ran three plays and punted, a short 27 yarder that Ben Girton returned 27 yards on the Vikings’ 10.
On the first snap by center Lucas Cooksey, Kelly Hawkins ran 10 yards for the touchdown.
Northview’s Boor kicked the ensuing kickoff into the end zone again and the Vikings’ took possession at the 20 again.
“The Northview kicker is the most valuable player in the game,” Cobb said.
But the Vikings caught the Knights on a blitz and quarterback Jimmy Maples flipped a screen pass to Skyler Warnock, who took the ball 80 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
Northview responded with a seven-play, 52-yard touchdown drive. With key blocks from Corbin Fretz, the Knights marched down field without throwing a pass.
Jacob Dean, who led the Knights with 93 yards rushing, scored on a nine-yard run and Boor’s point after kick gave the Knights a 14-7 lead.
Northview’s defense forced West Vigo into a three-and-out series and after a short punt the Knights took possession on the Vikings’ 36. Just six plays later, Jacob Little got a block at the corner from Kelly Hawkins for a 12-yard touchdown and 21-7 Northview lead.
Taking possession at mid-field, the Knights ran off seven plays to the West Vigo 35-yard line. But on first and 10, West Vigo’s Daniel McClain stepped in to pick off a Tucker Stewart pass and returned it 44 yards to the Northview 31.
Facing at fourth down and 11, West Vigo’s Maples found Tyler Kernstein over the middle for a 22-yard pick up to the Northview 5-yard line. On the third snap by center Luke Bigger, Maples got a block from Warnock on the outside and squeeze into the corner of the end zone for a three-yard touchdown run.
Leading 21-14, Northview put together a 10-play, 55-yard touchdown drive to end the half. Hawkins broke free for a 20-yard run and Stewart, on third and nine, ran for 13 on big gains. Stewart scored from the one-yard line to close the half with the Knights on top 28-14.
The West Vigo defense opened the second half with a big defensive stop in mid-field. The Vikings took possession at their own 39-yard line and started a drive, as Maples ran 13 yards for a big first down.
But on third down and six, Northview’s Thomas Hess intercepted a West Vigo pass. On the Knights’ second play, Stewart hit the streaking Rector over the middle for an 81-yard touchdown pass play and 35-14 lead.
Northview’s Gavin Johnson ended West Vigo’s next scoring threat. After West Vigo’s Sam Bowden took a Maples pass 33 yards, Johnson picked off the next pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown and 42-14 Northview lead.