FORT MILL — The Northwestern Trojans showed why it’s one of the best teams in the country by rolling through Nation Ford 63-18 Friday night.
Already down a key player in senior receiver Brandon Cureton due to a left knee injury, the Falcons struggled to stop the Trojans on defense as Northwestern put the game away in the first half going up 28-6 at halftime. Things didn’t get any better for Nation Ford in the second half.
Trojans’ quarterback Mason Rudolph went 24 of 37 for 365 yards and four touchdowns through the air and ran for two more on the ground. Rudolph’s main target was Dupree Hart, who caught seven passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Another target for Rudolph was Quadarius Fair, who caught six passes for 97 yards.
“The kids played hard,” said Trojans head coach Kyle Richardson. “This is a focused bunch. The group does a great job of mentally preparing and it starts the Sunday before the game.”
Northwestern opened the second half marching down the field to score on a five play, 53-yard drive as Rudolph hit Fair for a 16-yard touchdown to extend the Trojans’ lead.
Nation Ford moved the ball well on its first drive of the third quarter as Falcons quarterback Dalton Helms led a drive to the Trojans’ 13 when he took a somersaulting hit at the 2-yard line. Helms would then take it in two plays later to make the score 35-12.
The Trojans would come right back and put another seven on the board on another short drive of 47 yards, this time scoring in five plays again as Rudolph hit Davion Blake on a 40-yard touchdown.
Nation Ford caught Northwestern off guard on their next drive as Helms hit a wide open Riley Hilton for a 66-yard score, to ease the bleeding some for the Falcons.
Although the Trojans would reopen the wound adding two more touchdowns before the quarter was over.
In the second quarter, Northwestern had two-drive stalling penalties early that were overcome with a 13-yard reception from Corey Seargent.
Rudolph would then find Hart over the middle a couple plays later, as he would scoot and scamper his way through the Falcons’ defense to score on 23-yard touchdown.
Helms led Nation Ford down the field on their first drive of the second quarter competing key passes to Hilton and Spencer Pecarro, which moved the Falcons to well inside Northwestern territory. However, the Trojans’ defense held strong when it counted and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs.
On their next drive, Northwestern again put together a good drive as Rudolph hit Hart for a big 28-yard gain. The Trojans then had an 18-yard touchdown called back only to have Rudolph hit Fair for a 22-yard gain to the 1-yard line, before taking it in himself on the next play to extend the Northwestern lead.
After a stop on defense, the Trojans started at the Falcons’ 33-yard line. Hart and Rudolph then pushed the pace using a hurry-up offense to move the ball as Hart would catch an 18-yard pass to get to the 2-yard line. Rudolph would run it in on the next play.
Nation Ford’s first drive got started well as they picked up a couple first downs, but was stopped just across midfield.
In the opening quarter, the Trojans’ first drive started deep in its own territory, but Northwestern soon got across midfield as Rudolph hit Hart on a big pass. Shockley also had big runs to move the chains for the Trojans.
Fair picked up a 17-yard gain with a pass from Rudolph and Tori Adams would then score on the next play to give Northwestern its first lead of the night.
On Nation Ford’s next drive, a 22-yard reception from Hank Tuipulotu moved the Falcons past midfield to the 37-yard line of the Trojans.
Hilton would then get a 20-yard reception on the next play for the Falcons and put them in the red zone. Hilton and Helms would score two plays later on a 3-yard touchdown pass culminating a 15-play drive. The extra point was blocked.
Northwestern 63, Nation Ford 18
NW – Tori Adams three-yard run (Sully Foy kick)
NF – Dalton Helms to Riley Hilton three-yard pass (kick failed)
NW – Mason Rudolph to Dupree Hart 23-yard pass (Foy kick)
NW – Rudolph one-yard run (Foy kick)
NW – Rudolph two-yard run (Foy kick)
NW – Rudolph to Quadarius Fair 16-yard pass (Foy kick)
NF – Helms one-yard run (kick failed)
NW – Rudolph to Davion Blake 40-yard pass (Foy kick)
NF – Helms to Hilton 66-yard pass (conversion failed)
NW – Rudolph to Hart nine-yard pass (Foy kick)
NW – Adams nine-yard run (Foy kick)
NW – Harper Woods one-yard run (Alan Taylerson kick)
RUSHING Northwestern: Dupree Hart 2-13, Mason Rudolph 6-32, Julian Shockley 8-66, Tori Adams 2-12, Chris Bowler 4-23, Harper Woods 2-8, TJ Robinson 2-23, Quinton Bracey 3-31. Nation Ford: Marques Coleman 8-18, Dalton Helms 9-45, Keshawn McClure 1-1, Cole Martin 1-3, Tevin Ramirez 1-1.
PASSING Northwestern: Mason Rudolph 24-37-0 365, Harper Woods 0-1-0 0. Nation Ford: Dalton Helms 23-47-1 271, Cole Martin 1-5-0 8.
RECEIVING Northwestern: Dupree Hart 7-131, Corey Seargent 2-28, Jaquavious Mackey 1-6, Quadarius Fair 6-97, Logan Rudolph 1-11, Julian Shockley 4-42, Davion Blake 2-44, Grant Kirk 1-6. Nation Ford: Riley Hilton 9-138, Colt Taylor 6-43, Marques Coleman 3-24, Michael Allen 2-17, Hank Tuipulotu 1-22, Spencer Pecarro 1-16, Jordan Helms 2-19.
RECORDS Northwestern: 10-0, 6-0 Region III-AAAA; Nation Ford: 6-4, 3-3 Region III-AAAA.