The Fort Mill defense ran out onto the turf at District Three Stadium in Rock Hill with a purpose Friday night, holding a powerful Northwestern offense to only 12 points in the first half before, as Fort Mill head coach Ed Susi put it, "the dam broke."
The Trojans charged back out in the second half, scoring on their first four possessions to run away with a 47-13 win over the Jackets (0-10).
"Our defense played really well. They did a great job holding them to 12 points," Susi said of the first half. "We just gave up some big ones. They have some good athletes over there."
The Trojans (9-1) struggled to get their offense started, but got help from their defense and special teams in the first half.
Northwestern's Jarett Neely returned a punt 40 yards for the first score midway through the first quarter, and the Trojans' defense blocked a Fort Mill field goal attempt on the next possession, returning it to the Fort Mill 26 to set up the second touchdown.
After halftime, Northwestern racked up 205 yards of offense, compared to 85 in the first half. The Trojans widened the lead from 12-0 at the half to 47-0 early in the fourth quarter partly due to their deadly passing attack coming to life and partly because of costly Fort Mill turnovers.
The Jackets' senior quarterback, Danny Till, who was constantly scrambling to avoid pressure, threw three interceptions on three consecutive throws during the third and early fourth quarter.
Till did lead an 11-play scoring drive in the fourth to get the Jackets on the board, punctuated by a 14-yard touchdown pass to sophomore running back Asa Kryst.
Fort Mill's Max Simons added a late rushing touchdown as the Jackets avoided being shutout for the sixth time this season.
Fort Mill finished the game with 208 total yards.
Northwestern remains in the driver's seat for a region championship. The Trojans close out their regular season Friday against Gaffney.
Fort Mill will play its final game at Bob Jones Stadium Friday against rival Nation Ford.
"It's our last chance to get a win, and there's no better team to get it against than your rival," Susi said.