Northwestern’s two losses to start the season left some questions on the minds of Trojans fans. Those questions were quickly and soundly answered on Friday night at District Three Stadium.
The arm and legs of do-everything Dupree Hart led the Trojans to a commanding 48-21 win over visiting Irmo.
Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson spoke after the game of the decision to start Hart at quarterback over Harper Woods.
“Tonight, he just gave us our best chance to move the football, with some things we know Irmo was going to do,” Richardson said. “We felt like we were going to go with him, and once we got some confidence brewing there, everybody just started feeding off each other, and we just rolled with it."
Hart found the end zone three times in the first half, twice on the ground and once on a 30-yard strike to Julian Shockley, which gave Northwestern a 20-0 advantage. Hart connected on 12 of his 13 first half passes, while rushing for nearly 100 yards. The Trojans took a commanding 34-7 lead into the locker room at the half.
Richardson was proud of his team's play in the first half and the game, saying, “the key word right there is effort. We’ve challenged our guys just to give a lot of effort and get better every week. We made some tweaks here and there on offense and defense, and still gotta work on our special teams, but overall, very pleased.”
The complexion of the game changed a bit in the second half, but there were still some big plays to come. After Irmo’s Rodrick Ladson returned a kickoff for 97 yards to give Irmo its lone first-half score, the Yellow Jackets struck for a big play again in the third. Irmo quarterback Anthony Jones rolled right and found receiver Manny Banks in the open field for a 93-yard score. The Trojans answered just into the fourth quarter, as Shockley caught a 47-yard strike from Hart to give the Trojans a 48-14 lead with 4:39 to play. Irmo scored on a Jaylon Tharp run with seconds remaining, providing the final margin.
Hart paced the Trojans on the ground, carrying for nearly 120 yards on 23 carries. Hart threw just 11 times (completing six) in the second half, with the game well in hand.
“We got a win. It feels good to get this one, and now move on to Greenwood,” said Richardson after the game.
Who will start at quarterback next week?Asked who would start the game at quarterback next week,
“We always go in Sunday as a staff and we make the decisions based off the best personnel we can put out there versus what we face” said Richardson.
Northwestern (1-2) travels to Greenwood on Friday.