Friday night's opening-night loss to Goose Creek will be one that the Northwestern Trojans will look back on and wonder what might have happened. The Gators scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to defeat the Trojans 14-0 on a sloppy field at Goose Creek.
The Gators pulled ahead 6-0 on an amazing 89-yard, 16-play drive after three quarters of stalemate football. But the drive nearly ended before it started.
Facing a long fourth and 1 on his own 20-yard line, Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy called a timeout, then opted to go for the first down. The play did not gain much more than a yard, but it was sufficient for the first down.
After the conversion, Northwestern's defense never regained its momentum. Goose Creek converted three third downs on the drive, then caught the Trojans defense napping a little on a 28-yard reverse by Kevin Glears that gave the Gators the lead for good.
Northwestern pieced together a couple of nice drives after the score, but a muffed punt ended any hope for a Trojans comeback. The miscue gave Goose Creek the ball on the Trojans' 12-yard line, and the Gators scored one play later on a run by Virgil Smalls and added the two-point conversion for the game's final points.
Goose Creek's defense grounded Northwestern's Air Raid offense in the first half. The Trojans conducted five offensive drives in the first half, yet recorded only three first downs through the first two periods.
Junior quarterback Justin Worley was efficient with his short passes, but a couple of dropped balls by the Trojans' young receivers stymied what little momentum the Trojans had.
Worley threw for 205 yards and his only interception came after a Trojans receiver tipped the ball into the hands of a Gators defender.
The Gators did not fare much better on offense, but missed out on a golden opportunity to light up the scoreboard first when the Trojans recovered a fumble in their own end zone.
Northwestern defensive back Josh Shelton added an intercept-ion less than two minutes later. Shelton nearly returned the ball for a score, but was tripped up after 25 yards.
The Trojans picked up a couple of first downs on the opening drive of the third period before Goose Creek went on its game-changing drive.
“Goose Creek is a very good football team,” Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace said. “We did not make the plays we needed to. Our kids competed well tonight and we will get better, but Goose Creek is an excellent football club.
GOOSE CREEK 14 NORTHWESTERN 0
GC — Kevin Glears 28 yard run (kick failed)
GC — Virgil Smalls 12 run (Ranoy Hines run)
RUSHING—Northwestern: Justin Worley 4-(-7), Demario Wilson 8-51, Team 1-(-12). Goose Creek: Hines 15-48, Virgil Smalls 14-86, Dequan Marsh 5-16, Zach Lavery 2-8, Mike Myers 6-16, Jerome Jordan 2-22, Gears 1-28.
PASSING—Northwestern: Worley 27-38-1-205. Goose Creek: Marsh 1-3-0-15, Lavery 1-4-1-28.
RECEIVING—Northwestern: Stewart Hunt 5-17, Kevin Keene 7-55, Cody Craven 3-49, Wilson 5-5, Robert Joseph 6-74, Tyler Blake 1-5; Goose Creek: Jamel Bowman 1-15, Kevin Glears 1-23.
RECORDS—Northwestern: 0-1. Goose Creek 1-0