Call Northwestern coach Jimmy "Moose" Wallace a forward-thinking man.
The No. 2 Trojans had just wrapped up a 42-0 win against rival Rock Hill at District Three Stadium on Friday.
Northwestern (11-0, 5-0) had finished a fourth-straight unbeaten season in Region 3-AAAA play and evened the all-time series at 23 with those same Bearcats.
Where were Wallace's thoughts?
Never miss a local story.
"The regular season is over," he said. "Now, it just gets bigger every week. ... We gotta remain hungry."
The Trojans broke open a one-score game at the half with 28 third-quarter points - seven shy of the 35 points Northwestern scored in the third quarter against cross-town rival South Pointe in Week 1.
"We played a great game; we played as one team," Northwestern defensive lineman Gerald Dixon said. "We made the adjustments at halftime and came out in the second half and got it right."
Rock Hill (2-9, 0-5) missed a field goal on its opening drive, and the teams played a strictly defensive scoreless first quarter.
The Bearcats threatened again in the second quarter, but Dixon stuffed the drive at midfield with a sack on third-and-6.
The Trojans finally broke through two plays after Rock Hill punted. Quarterback Justin Worley connected with Robert Joseph on a 14-yard slant on the first play. Worley and Joseph worked a slant-and-go to perfection on the next play, which resulted in a 75-yard touchdown.
"I just tried to get in the end zone as fast as I could," Joseph said. "We knew we had to get a score there, so I did what I could. ... I turned on the burners."
The Bearcats countered with a 13-play drive and marched to the Trojans' 22-yard line. From there, quarterback Corey Wessinger threw two fades into the end zone to Jamel Jones.
Jones made the catch on both plays, but he was ruled out of bounds each time. The second "catch" will be debated by Rock Hill and Northwestern fans for years to come.
Rock Hill's misfortune continued when a second field goal attempt was blocked by Northwestern's Devonta Gibson.
"We played well in the first half," Rock Hill coach Joe Montgomery said. "We had the one ball down there in the end zone. It was a bad call, but it wouldn't have affected the outcome of the game."
The Bearcats avoided further damage in the first half when Jonathan Adams recovered a fumble inside the 10 on the ensuing drive, but Northwestern held the 7-0 lead at halftime.
"Our third quarter has typically been good," Wallace said. Offensive coordinator "Kyle Richardson did a good job of getting our kids in the right places."
Did he ever. Northwestern completed a six-play, 65-yard drive in less than two minutes. LaThomas Long keyed the march with runs of 22 and 10 yards, then finished it with a 6-yard touchdown reception.
Northwestern then forced a three-and-out, a costly one that saw Dixon knock Wessinger out of the game. Wessinger was carted off the field on a stretcher in the fourth quarter.
Now it's time to look to the Class AAAA playoffs, where Northwestern lost in the championship game each of the past two years.
NW - Robert Joseph 75 pass from Justin Worley (Sully Foy kick)
NW - LaThomas Long 6 pass from Worley (Foy kick)
NW - Joseph 4 pass from Worley (Foy kick)
NW - Long 9 run (Foy kick)
NW - Brandon Lewis 25 pass from Worley (Foy kick)
NW - A.J. McCoy 2 run (Foy kick)
RUSHING - Northwestern: LaThomas Long 7-66, Worley 3-(-17), Delvieon McCleod 1-2, Joseph 1-(-6), McCoy 6-30, Marcus Marshall 1-3, Matt Turney 2-0. Rock Hill: Arthur Heyward 13-68, Josh Erby 5-14, Dre Williams 2-1, Jonathan Adams 1-2, Corey Wessinger 3-(-5).
PASSING - Northwestern: Worley 27-31-409-0, Turney 4-6-36-0. Rock Hill: Wessinger 14-24-130-0, Erby 4-10-2-17-2.
RECEIVING - Northwestern: Joseph 5-148, B.J. Boyd 4-34, Lewis 6-86, Stewart Hunt 5-58, Long 2-36, McCleod 5-47, Marshall 1-6, Jeff Long 1-10, Devon Baxter 1-11, Maurice Hunt 1-9. Rock Hill: Jamel Jones 4-80, Joe Perry 2-13, Justin McClure 5-32, Heyward 6-14, De'Breon Crockett 1-8.
Records: Northwestern 11-0 (5-0); Rock Hill 2-9 (0-5).