The James Island Trojans brought the whole playbook, which included onsides kicks, fourth-down gambles, and wacky formations such as the Wildcat and Pistol.
The Pistol, however, proved no match for the Northwestern Trojans' shotgun-spread attack. Justin Worley threw for 476 yards and five touchdowns, Delvieon McCleod added 179 receiving yards and Northwestern cruised to a 45-14 win in the first round of the Class AAAA Division II playoffs. Northwestern (12-0) advances to face Ashley Ridge (6-6) at District Three Stadium on Friday.
"They do a lot on offense," Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace said of James Island. "We told our kids all week to be prepared for anything, but our offense did a great job of moving the ball down the field all night."
Northwestern muffed a punt after the game's opening possession, but James Island's Taylor Morris' recovery in the end zone resulted in a touchback instead of a turnover.
Worley peppered 7-of-7 passes for 70 yards afterward, including four for 47 yards to McCleod. B.J. Boyd closed the drive with a 10-yard touchdown. Northwestern extended the lead to 13-0 in the second quarter on an 11-yard connection from Worley to Robert Joseph.
James Island (7-6) answered with a 10-play drive and elected to go on fourth down for the third time in the first half. Bo Patterson threw a 13-yard touchdown to Troy Roper to cut the lead to 13-7, and James Island gambled once more and recovered the ensuing onsides kick.
"Some of our guys weren't focused early," Worley said. "We were coming off being 11-0 and riding that high a little too much. ... That first half kind of brought us back down to Earth."
Northwestern's defense held, however, and Montrece Kennedy atoned for his previous special teams error with a 27-yard punt return. A 27-yard screen pass to LaThomas Long set up another 10-yard touchdown from Worley to Boyd, and Long added the two-point conversion for a 21-7 lead.
The running-back tandem of McCleod and Long combined for 129 receiving yards in the first half.
"They left us uncovered and their two defensive ends were blitzing every play," Long said. "Coach told us all week we should be open."
Boyd and McCleod opened the second half with catches of 36 and 31 yards, respectively, which resulted in a 1-yard touchdown from Worley to Brandon Lewis. Northwestern's Nick Cousar intercepted Patterson on the next possession, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Sully Foy for a 31-7 lead.
James Island's Justin Bolus answered with a 13-yard touchdown in the third period. Worley's third touchdown toss to Boyd ended any chance for a comeback.
Worley, who now has 52 touchdown passes this season, had a chance to tie the state record for touchdown passes in a single season, but Long capped the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run.
"First-round playoff games are tough when you do what we've done," Wallace said. "But we did what we had to. I'm proud of our kids and we get to play here again next week."
JAMES ISLAND 14
N -- B.J. Boyd 12 pass from Justin Worley (Sully Foy kick)
N -- Robert Joseph 11 pass from Worley (Kick failed)
JI -- Troy Roper 13 pass from Bo Patterson (Collin Cooper kick)
N -- Boyd 12 pass from Worley (LaThomas Long conversion)
N -- Brandon Lewis 1 pass from Worley (Foy kick)
N -- Foy 26 field goal
JI -- Justin Bolus 13 run (Cooper kick)
N -- Boyd 14 pass from Worley (Foy kick)
N -- LaThomas Long 7 run (Cooper kick)
RUSHING - Northwestern: Long 6-36, Delvieon McCleod 1-9, Worley 1-12, Marcus Marshall 3-5, A.J. McCoy 2-18. James Island: Bolus 17-76, Patterson 20-23, Bratton Benfield 2-28, Frank Howell 1-(-4), Roper 2-(-2), Jamel Prioleau 1-(-3), Ricky Williams 2-1.
PASSING - Northwestern: Worley 33-47-1, 476 yards, Matt Turney 1-2-0, 10 yards. James Island: Patterson 13-21-1, 157 yards, Bolus 1-1-0, 6 yards, Benfield 0-1-1, 0 yards.
RECEIVING - Northwestern: McCleod 13-179, Joseph 7-95, Boyd 6-90, Brandon Lewis 5-74, Rontavius McClure 1-10, Jeff Long 1-10, LaThomas Long 1-27. James Island: Prioleau 3-40, Roper 6-80, Howell 1-10, Bolus 3-27, Patterson 1-6.
RECORDS: Northwestern 12-0, James Island 7-6.