ROCKVILLE – With its season on the line and a playoff spot within reach, Friday night’s game for Northwest was a must-win.
The Jaguars defense received the message, outscoring the offense with four pick-six touchdowns as Northwest (7-3) routed Wootton (5-5) 53-18.
Northwest’s win, will likely send the 2013 and 2014 state champs back to Maryland 4A playoffs but the Germantown-based team will have to wait until Sunday to find out its seeding.
“That’s the goal since the beginning of the season,” said Jaguars running back Khalil Owens. “First, we needed to make it in the door and go to the playoffs and now a new season starts today and we got to keep pushing and make a great run.”
Owens picked up a pair of rushing touchdowns and tallied 38 yards on five carries, 25 of which came on his first touchdown run in the first quarter.
Owens and the offense did not see much of the field Friday night as the defense returned four interceptions into the end zone, blowing out the Patriots by 41 points at halftime to earn a continuous clock in the second half.
On defense, Owens did his part, returning a ball tipped off Wootton wide receiver Elijah Trent’s hand for a pick-six.
“I was surprised, I just saw him jump in the air and then I just saw the ball coming,” said Owens. “It was just so fast… my mind was going crazy, I just caught and ran it into the end zone. It was wide open.”
Senior linebacker Sam Pagella returned two interceptions, returning one 58 yards and another 78 yards.
“He’s a blue collar kid, man, he’s super reliable. Tough-nosed kid, do whatever you need, super dependable, the kind of kid you want to build a program around,” said Jaguars Head Coach Mike Neubeiser.
Leading the Jaguars rushing attack, Juwon Farri totaled 124 yards rushing on eight carries with a touchdown rushing and one receiving.
With dominant rushing performance by his running back and four defensive touchdowns, Jaguars quarterback Chris Craddock barely had any work to do, completing three for five for 39 yards and one touchdown.
Linebacker Greg Bullard also turned an interception into a touchdown, returning a Grant Saylor tipped pass for a score midway through the fourth quarter.
According to Patriots Head Coach Eddie Tolliver, his team committed too many “mistakes” on offense and “missed tackles on defense that turned into long runs for them.”
Wootton’s offense rebounded in the second half and put together a few drives with Saylor frequently connecting with his favorite weapon, wide receiver Noel Miller.
Miller surpassed 1,000 yards receiving on the season during the course of the game.
“This is the first time in recent memory, that I have being here at Wootton a long time of having a 1,000 (yard) receiver,” Tolliver said.