Conservative isnt a word that often collides in the same sentence with Northwestern Trojans football.
Yet thats the approach No. 1 Northwestern took in a 34-0 win in its Class AAAA-Region 3 opener against the Lancaster Bruins at District Three Stadium in Rock Hill on Friday.
Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) didnt have three starters in its secondary because of injuries. The Trojans finished with 13 run plays against just three passes in the first quarter.
They were dropping a lot of people and we felt like we could run the football, Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson said. That was part of the plan. We didnt have a good rhythm tonight. It was up-and-down at times.
Still, the plan worked. Dupree Hart provided a pair of first-half touchdowns. He bounced a five-yard run for a score with eight seconds left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.
Sully Foy tacked on a 28-yard field goal before Mason Rudolph and Hart gave Northwestern a commanding lead. Rudolph pump faked to Mustafia Love on what looked to be a screen before hitting a wide-open Hart in stride for a 38-yard score with 3:38 left in the half.
Thats one of our plays, Rudolph said. Duprees an awesome athlete. Im blessed to be able to put the ball in his hands and let him do the rest.
Lancaster (2-3, 0-1) answered with back-to-back deep passes from Red Truesdale to Jay Hood for a total of 54 yards, but the Bruins missed on a double pass on fourth-and-11. Rudolph, who finished 17-of-19 in the first half, set up Foy for a 41-yard field goal on the last play of the first half. Northwestern led 20-0.
Against a team like that, they dont need help, Lancaster coach Bennie McMurray said. We gave them more opportunities then they needed, but Im still proud of the way we played.
Hart opened the second half with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Dante Seargents 40-yard fumble return for a score with 2:53 left in the third quarter effectively put the game away.
The defense played awesome tonight, Richardson said. Special teams played great. It was one of those nights where we got a win, and thats all that matters.
Northwestern 34, Lancaster 0
NW-Dupree Hart 5 run (Sully Foy kick)
NW-Sully Foy 28 field goal
NW-Mason Rudolph 38 pass to Hart (Foy kick)
NW-Hart 85 kickoff return (Foy kick)
NW-Dante Seargent 40 fumble return (Foy kick)
RUSHING LANCASTER: Red Truesdale 14-19, Rashun Cloud 4-46, K.D. Wright 10-18, Tyree Brown-Washington 1-0. NORTHWESTERN: Tori Adams 9-36, Julian Shockley 5-23, Hart 1-5, Chris Bowler 1-1, Rudolph 8-0.
PASSING LANCASTER: Truesdale 4-10-0, 72 yards, Darius Robinson 0-1-0, 0 yards, Cameron Meadows 0-1-0, 0 yards. NORTHWESTERN: Rudolph 22-26-0, 246 yards, Harper Woods 1-1-0, 4 yards.
RECEIVING LANCASTER: Jay Hood 3-67, Wright 1-5. NORTHWESTERN: Hart 8-120, Mustafia Love 6-32, Quandarius Fair 7-85, Adams 1-9, Logan Rudolph 1-4.
RECORDS: Lancaster (2-3, 0-1), Northwestern (5-0, 1-0).