Trojan Air War Halts Hawks

Rudy Mitchell (34) shakes a Northwestern tackle. (Photo/Ross Burton)

Rudy Mitchell (34) shakes a Northwestern tackle. (Photo/Ross Burton)

ROCK HILL – The Westwood Redhawks travelled to Rock Hill to face second-seeded Northwestern High School Friday night, and for the third year in a row, couldn’t get past the playoff’s second round. The Northwestern Trojans eliminated the Redhawks by a score of 49-21.

“Of the three teams we have met in the second round of the playoffs, this team is the biggest opponent,” Westwood head coach Rodney Summers said. “They are a very good football team. They can run big plays or they can methodically move the ball down the field and hit you with big plays.”

Westwood showed they would not be pushovers on the very first possession, beginning with Malik Griffin’s 72-yard kickoff return. It took Westwood six plays to get into the end zone, but Andrew Plante smashed through the line to cover the last 2 yards to the goal. Brandon Howard kicked the PAT, and was again perfect for the night.

The Trojans would march right back on the Redhawks with a scoring drive of their own. Trojan quarterback Gage Moloney completed six of seven passes on their way down field to the Westwood goal line. Moloney would finish the game completing an incredible 23 of 27 passing attempts.

The Redhawks managed the same degree of success against the Northwestern defense after the kickoff. First, Deuntrey Gallman ran the kickoff back 17 yards. Then Jalen Smith hit Willie McConnel for a 35-yard pass play all the way down to the Northwestern 27.

Then disaster struck when Smith fumbled on the keeper. Northwestern recovered and promptly sent Julian Shockley 73 yards down field on a touchdown pass reception from Moloney. Despite being early in the game, the turnover by Westwood and the resulting effortless touchdown by Northwestern seemed to shift the game’s momentum Northwestern’s way for good.

“We had some good things going early,” Summers said. “That turnover really hurt us.”

Westwood managed to get into Trojan territory as the quarter neared its end. Ironically, Westwood was doing better with its passing game than their trademark run. Smith hit Montre Miller for a 45-yard gain, but found the running game all but shut down. On the Trojan 40 on fourth-and-2, normally a gimme for either running back, Plante wasn’t able to get the ball even back to the line of scrimmage in the face of a determined defense.

For the entire game, Mitchell gained only 93 yards on 17 carries. However, much of that yardage was gained on only one play, where Mitchell ran for 46 yards and a touchdown. Part of the running game woes had to do with Injuries in the much-touted gigantic offensive line. Torrey Boone had been out of a couple of games, and Chris Mitchell was out for this one. Emmanuel Scott went out early in the season with a torn ACL.

Westwood got on the scoreboard again in the second quarter on another long pass to Miller. The rushers took over and managed to get to the goal line a few yards at a time. Meanwhile, Northwestern scored twice before the halftime buzzer. The teams hit the locker rooms with Northwestern leading 28-14.

Despite their best efforts, Westwood had a tough third quarter. First, Jerry Howard broke loose from the Redhawk defenders for a 41-yard touchdown run. Westwood went three-and-out, and after the Howard punt, it only took Northwestern two passing plays for long yardage and for Moloney to poke one over the middle to Shockley for 6 more points. Pretty much the same scenario repeated itself in the next two sets of downs with the same result, three-and-out and a quick Trojan TD.

The forgettable third quarter ended with Miles Corpening picking off a Smith pass in the last minute of the quarter and a Janario Holley touchdown grab on the very next play.

Beginning with the fourth quarter, the Northwestern players with clean uniforms took the field and two different quarterbacks took over for Moloney.

By the time Mitchell blasted in his 46-yard TD run, the game was out of reach for the Redhawks, and they will have to wait another year to make it past the second round of the playoffs.


WHS: 7-7-0-7 – 21

NW: 14-14-21-0 – 49


First Quarter

W – Andrew Plante 2 run (Brandon Howard kick). 8:30.

NW – J. Holley 9 pass from G. Maloney (T. Gettys kick). 5:52.

NW – J. Shockley 73 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick). 4:09.

Second Quarter

NW – J. Howard 34 run (Gettys kick). 11:52.

NW – J. Starkes 2 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick). 5:52.

W – A. Plante 1 run (B. Howard kick). 0:21.

Third Quarter

NW – Howard 41 run (Gettys kick). 10:50.

NW – Shockley 4 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick). 8:30.

NW – Holley 38 pass from Moloney (Gettys kick). 0:45.

Fourth Quarter

W – Rudy Mitchell 46 run (B. Howard kick). 6:50.


Team Stats

W                            N

First Downs                        11                           16

Rushes-Yards                     41-111                   20-194

Passing Yards                     159                         332

C-A-INT                             9-16-1                   24-29-0

Fumbles-Lost                     1-1                          0-0

Penalties-Yards                 9-65                       4-45


Individual Stats

RUSHING: NW – Howard 9-117, Moloney 3-14, Dequez Harris 3-10, Hagood 2-(-11), Brandon Ashley 1-4, Malik Hinton 2-0. W – Mitchell 17-93, Smith 15-10, Plante 8-6, Deuntrey Gallman 1-2.

PASSING: NW – Moloney 23-27, 332 yards, 5 TDs. Hagood 1-2. W – Smith 9-16, 159 yards, INT.

RECEIVING: NW – Jordan Starkes 3-22, Julian Shockley 6-114, Jamario Holley 11-133, Howard 1-41, Harris 2-23, Cory McCoy 1-(-1). W – Gallman 1-13, Willie McConnel 1-35, Montre Miller 3-81, Mitchell 2-9, Malik Griffin 2-21.

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