YORK — About 12 partly paved miles separate York and Northwestern high schools.
Friday night, the distance between the schools football teams was even closer, with the visiting Trojans emerging from a Region 3 dogfight with a 23-21 win.
Both teams played well and any team could have won it, said Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson, fielding victory hugs from his coaching staff after the win. Bottom line, its a region game, its another region win. Were gonna enjoy this one, then get ready for next week.
Yorks Ryan Moore, who rushed for 170 yards and three scores, broke a tackle and took off for a 40-yard touchdown to give the Cougars a 21-17 lead with 1:40 left. But DuPree Hart took the ensuing kickoff back 51 yards to set up the Trojans at Yorks 35, and Mason Rudolph capped a steely drive, wiggling into the end zone from a yard out for the go-ahead touchdown with 33 seconds left.
Anytime you put the ball in 14s hands youve got a chance, said Richardson about Hart, the sophomore who finished with 223 total yards.
Hart said a first quarter fumble tightened his focus for the duration of the game. He was a diminutive blur, impossible for the Cougars to corral, and summed up his stellar performance: I aint going down on one tackle.
The Trojans (7-2 overall, 4-1 Region 3) had already dropped two close contests to Byrnes and South Pointe, and werent interested in dropping a third nail-biter to a state-ranked opponent. At times it seemed Northwestern was determined to beat itself, racking up nearly 200 yards in penalties. But afterward, Richardson felt those narrow losses helped the Trojans seal the deal against 10th-ranked York (7-2, 4-1).
We played the schedule that we played in order to set us up for region and playoffs, he said. We got down there at Byrnes and didnt cash in late in the game, but we came home and worked off that film and tried to learn from it, and its obvious tonight that we learned from it.
For all the talk about Yorks defense, it was the Trojan stoppers putting the clamps on the Cougars in the first half. Northwestern held the home team to just three first downs and 37 yards of offense, helping it build a 10-0 lead at the break.
For the game, it held York to just 60 passing yards, though Moore was almost impossible to stop it was the senior back that led the Cougars second half resurgence. They erased the 10-point deficit quickly, with the help of a recovered opening second half kickoff that caught Northwestern by surprise. Moore picked up 31 yards on five straight carries, plowing into the end zone to make it 10-7. Moore then put the Cougars on his back and ahead of the Trojans, capping a punishing drive with a 13-yard pinball run that put York in front 14-10.
The Cougars harassed and harried Rudolph all night, and Ty Currence made a leaping interception at the 27-yard line, but Northwesterns defense stemmed the rising tide by forcing a York punt. The Trojans took advantage on the following possession, converting a fourth and 2 to Rontavious McClure for four yards, before an eight-yard run by Hart gave Northwestern a first and goal at the 1. Tori Adams put the visitors back in front with a one-yard plunge to make it 17-14 with 7:02 left in the game, setting up the dramatic late-game antics by both teams.
After winning their first seven games of the season, the loss was the Cougars second in a row on the heels of a surprise overtime defeat last week to Nation Ford. Things dont get any easier for Bobby Carrolls team next week; York faces the school where he got his head coaching start in undefeated South Pointe.
Northwestern 23, York 21
NHS Sully Foy 19 field goal
NHS Mustafia Love 24 pass from Mason Rudolph (Foy kick)
YHS Ryan Moore 1 run (Buddy Anderson kick)
YHS Moore 13 run (Anderson kick)
NHS Tori Adams 1 run (Foy kick)
YHS Moore 40 run (Anderson kick)
NHS Rudolph 1 run (kick failed)
RUSHING NHS: Mason Rudolph 15-47; DuPree Hart 5-43; Tori Adams 5-42; LaThomas Long 9-20. YHS: Ryan Moore 26-170; Spencer Carroll 8-13.
PASSING NHS: Rudolph 22-42-1-0; Hart 0-1-0-0.YHS: Carroll 10-21-0-0; Markel Castle 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING NHS: Rontavious McClure 5-63; Ahmad Dewese 1-3; Mustafia Love 2-27;Hart 10-82; Long 3-27; Adams 1-4. YHS: Daurice Simpson 2-9; Josh McCoy 2-10; Moore 4-21; Castle 2-20;.
RECORDS NHS 7-2, 4-1; YHS 7-2, 4-1