ROCK HILL — The Northwestern Trojans had a simple game plan for the second half of their Class 4A-Region 3 contest against the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets Friday.
It included a healthy dose of sophomore Dupree Hart.
Hart scored three of his four touchdowns in the third quarter to break open a tight game for a 42-7 win at District Three Stadium.
Hart, a 5-foot-6 playmaker, finished with 11 catches for 139 receiving yards and added 15 rushing yards.
Hes pretty good, Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson said. Enough said.
Richardson elaborated more on the Trojans second half.
We came out more focused, said Richardson. Thats pretty much what it was. We had to get in focus, and we did better on the offensive and defensive side.
Fort Mill (4-4, 1-3) played the role of homecoming-spoiler early. Rylan Wells connected with Breshon Simpson on a slant pass for a 56-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead, and the Yellow Jackets recovered the ensuing onside kick.
But, a few gambles afterward didnt pay off. Fort Mill opted to go for it twice on fourth-and-short in the first half, but both plays ended with incomplete passes. Northwestern (6-2, 3-1) parlayed those stops into two touchdown passes from Mason Rudolph to Hart for a 14-7 lead.
Rudolph completed 13 passes in the first half, and Hart added seven catches for 85 yards.
They were vacating the middle of the field, Hart said. Coach Richardson saw that, and called the right plays. They were open; they were there.
The Trojans blocked a field goal on the final play of the second quarter. Despite having the ball for 16 minutes, 53 seconds in the first half, the Yellow Jackets still trailed.
It worked in the first half, Fort Mill coach Ed Susi said of controlling the clock. But unfortunately you have to play two halves. You have to play all four quarters to beat a team like that, and we didnt do that tonight.
Northwestern needed just a minute in the third quarter to increase the lead to 21-7. A 31-yard pass to Mustafia Love set up a five-yard touchdown run for Rudolph. After a three-and-out, the Trojans marched 59 yards on eight plays. Hart capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown run for the 28-7 advantage.
Rudolph and Hart combined for another five-yard touchdown in the final minute of the quarter, one in which Fort Mill managed just one first down. Northwestern tacked on a fourth-quarter touchdown from LaThomas Long for the final margin.
NORTHWESTERN 42, FORT MILL 7
FM-Rylan Wells 56 pass to Breshon Simpson (Wells kick)
NW-Mason Rudolph 7 pass to Dupree Hart (Sully Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 29 pass to Hart (Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 5 run (Foy kick)
NW-Hart 5 run (Foy kick)
NW-Rudolph 5 pass to Hart (Foy kick)
NW-LaThomas Long 1 run (Foy kick)
RUSHING FORT MILL: DeRyan Sanders 8-50, Tone Godbolt 11-36, Malik Long 5-17, Wells 19-38, Simpson 3-0. NORTHWESTERN: Rudolph 6-44, Tori Adams 6-19, Long 4-18, Hart 2-15, Austin Kane 1-0.
PASSING FORT MILL: Wells 7-17-0, 122 yards. NORTHWESTERN: Rudolph 25-31-325-0, 295 yards; Matthew Worley 0-1-0, 0 yards.
RECEIVING FORT MILL: Simpson 1-56, Godbolt 6-66. NORTHWESTERN: Hart 11-139, Rontavius McClure 7-102, Mustafia Love 4-57, Long 1-17, Adams 2-10.
RECORDS: Fort Mill 4-4 (1-3), Northwestern 6-2 (3-1).