LANCASTER — Is it possible to stop a 6-foot-6 receiver in a tight ends body?
The Lancaster Bruins didnt have an answer to that question in their Class AAAA Region 3 opener against the Northwestern Trojans on Friday. Senior Rontavius McClure tormented the Bruins with two first-half touchdowns and opened the second half with a 71-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That helped the Trojans cruise to a 48-13 win.
I felt like we werent playing up to our potential, McClure said. I knew I was one of the players who had to step up.
The big-and-tall receiver finished with seven catches for 96 yards, but he couldve done more damage. McClure had a 61-yard touchdown called back in the first half because of a penalty. He also dropped two more potential scores.
That just motivated me to catch the ball every time after that, McClure said.
McClure had four catches for 66 yards for Northwestern (4-1, 1-0) on its opening drive, and that led to a 23-yard field goal by Sully Foy.
Lancaster (1-4, 0-1) played without starting quarterback Kaderrious Jackson, with sophomore Keendarius Truesdale filling in. The Bruins didnt help themselves with two first-half turnovers.
Northwesterns Cory Sargent had a 35-yard interception return in the first quarter, and Shug Baxter recovered a fumble in the second quarter. Mason Rudolph hit McClure for touchdown passes of five and 10 yards, respectively, after both turnovers. Foy added another field goal before halftime to give Northwestern a 26-0 advantage.
Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson said the turnovers helped shake off the rust of a bye week.
We havent had an open date since Ive been the coach so I was a little bit worried about our mental state, Richardson said. It was big for us to come out and get those points.
After McClures second-half kickoff return, Dupree Hart added a two-point conversion for a commanding 34-0 lead. Hart and Mustafia Love added touchdown catches later in the quarter, and the Trojans coasted from there. Northwestern heads into a matchup with cross-town rival South Pointe (5-0, 1-0) next Friday.
Our defense was great tonight but we have to shore up a few things, Richardson said. Well take care of that in practice this week.
Lancaster erased the shutout with a 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Phillip Stevens, and Jeff Reed added a 75-yard fumble return in the fourth quarter. The Bruins face Nation Ford (4-1, 1-0) next.
Our kids gave a great effort, Lancaster coach Benny McMurray said. Were trying as hard as we possibly can. We get some guys back from injuries this week. Well get after it.
Northwestern 48, Lancaster 13
NW-Sully Foy 23 field goal
NW-Mason Rudolph 5 pass to Rontavius McClure (Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 5 run (Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 10 pass to McClure (Kick failed)
NW-Foy 23 field goal
NW-McClure 71 kickoff return (Hart two-point conversion)
NW-Rudolph 25 pass to Dupree Hart (Foy kick)
L-Phillip Stevens 74 kickoff return (Conversion failed)
NW-Rudolph 23 pass to Mustafia Love (Foy kick)
L-Jeff Reed 75 fumble return (Austin Snipes kick)
RUSHING NORTHWESTERN: Dupree Hart 6-62, Rudolph 4-28, Tori Adams 15-38; Andre Gaston 5-29. LANCASTER: James Richardson 4-17, Keendarius Truesdale 7-5, Dreshun Stewart 7-15, Tywon Anthony 2-0, Will Jackson 1-0.
PASSING NORTHWESTERN: Rudolph 25-40-0, 292 yards; Matthew Worley 3-4-0, 14 yards. LANCASTER: Truesdale 6-16-1, 31 yards.
RECEIVING NORTHWESTERN: Rontavius McClure 7-96, Hart 7-69, Love 3-37, Ahmad Dewese 4-53, Jared Balasco 3-34, Adams 2-5, Hamp Wright 1-12, Javon Foy 1-0. LANCASTER: Jay Hood 3-15, Anthony 1-14, Stewart 2-2.
RECORDS: Northwestern 4-1 (1-0), Lancaster 1-4 (0-1).