BETHESDA – The Northwest varsity football team recovered from last week’s loss against Blair to knock off Whitman 42-13 Friday night at Jerome Marco Stadium and improve to 3-1.
Jaguars running back Khalil Owens spent the game doing Khalil Owens things. The senior finished with 85 yards and two touchdowns, both in the second half.
Northwest junior defensive back Tyrese Johnson was equally as dominant on the opposite side of the ball. Johnson picked off both Vikings quarterbacks and recovered a fumble on the Whitman 20-yard-line.
Every week, Whitman Head Coach Jim Kuhn alternates between senior quarterback Matt Clayton and senior receiver Jack McClelland behind center.
“We’ve got two very talented kids that we use in different ways and they’re very effective,” he said. “You can see all the different things that we can do with them and we’re trying to build on that.”
The Clayton and McClelland duo helped get Whitman on the board first after a nine minute opening drive that devoured most of the first quarter.
Senior running back Gunnar Morton took the snap and handed off to McClelland. McClelland aimed to his right and completed a fifteen yard pass to Clayton in the end zone.
Senior kicker and receiver Connor Hughes missed the extra point.
It took the Vikings nine minutes to get on the board. The Jaguars scored in 40 seconds.
Northwest running back Juwon Farri and wide receiver Alphonso Foray, both juniors, ate up big chunks of yardage as they ran for multiple first downs.
Farri broke away from the Vikings defense and raced to his left, jumping over the pylon for the 17-yard score.
Clayton fumbled on Whitman’s next possession as he tried to run out of bounds. Johnson landed on the ball to give Northwest excellent field position.
However, Johnson’s fumble recovery didn’t translate to the scoreboard.
McClelland, who also plays defensive back, dove to the ground as he intercepted Jaguars junior quarterback Chris Craddock.
Johnson made sure that the Vikings didn’t capitalize on the turnover when he intercepted Clayton at the one-yard-line.
Northwest sophomore wide receiver AJ Woods made himself wide open in the end zone a few minutes later. Craddock rolled to his right and threw a 24-yard laser of a pass that hit Woods right between the jersey numbers for the Jaguars second touchdown of the game.
Senior kicker Nicholas Nicholas nailed his second extra point of the night.
The Vikings marched in the red zone with four seconds left before halftime. Kuhn called for a field goal instead of a touchdown.
That plan backfired when Hughes missed from the three-yard-line.
“You feel like in that situation, we’re down by eight points, you want to close it in,” said Kuhn. “I’m thinking it’ll be 14-9 at halftime and we could take the lead on them. If we’d gone for the touchdown and didn’t get it, we would come away with no points. As it turns out, we didn’t get any points anyway.”
Owens, who had been relatively quiet in the first half with just 37 yards, decided to break his silence in the third quarter.
The senior cut through the red zone on a twelve yard run and darted into the paint for his first touchdown of the game.
The Vikings appeared to be on the verge of a blowout at home.
Morton, however, didn’t recieve the blowout memo.
He pushed his way through the middle of the Northwest defense for a one-yard score on second-and-goal. Hughes capped the touchdown off with an extra point.
After Morton’s touchdown, the Jaguars took over.
Foray broke away for a 51-yard run.
A personal foul penalty on the Vikings added another 15 yards. Owens held the ball tightly under his right arm and darted the remaining 11 yards into the end zone.
Farri wasn’t planning to be outdone. He juked a Whitman defender and earned his second touchdown of the game from nine yards out.
Northwest decided to give the Vikings a parting gift with four seconds left on the clock.
Sophomore running back Jaylen Lawrence joined the touchdown party with an eleven yard score that would ensure a pleasant bus ride back to Germantown for the Jaguars.
“We ended up making some plays offensively and our defense was able to get enough stops,” said Jaguars Head Coach Mike Neubeiser. “We were able to get a lead and pull away.”
The Jaguars now have a week to prepare to face undefeated Sherwood.
“We’ve got to get some work in. It’s going to be tough,” said Neubeiser. “We have to tighten some things up. We’re not as physical as we need to be.”