Northwood goes to the air to beat East Chapel Hill
Despite a twinge of coaching concern, Northwood displayed a potent offense that stunned East Chapel Hill 39-14 Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
The aerial guns were on display throughout the game. Northwood junior quarterback Ti Pinnix ran up 287 passing yards and Wildcats sophomore quarterback Connor Stough threw for 273.
Chargers running backs Kadarus Rone and Montel Goods combined for 97 yards on the ground, and wide receiver Jalen Smith hauled in a pair of touchdowns while averaging just over 30 yards on each of his five catches. East Chapel Hill’s Jack Hankins caught three passes for 135 yards.
Northwood coach Bill Hall was understandably pleased with the blowout.
“I was pleasantly surprised with our offense,” Hall said. “All of our receivers caught well. I think we dropped one pass was all, and that’s something we struggled with in the scrimmages was dropping the ball.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons. We’ve got to take advantage of those weapons and we did tonight. Ti threw the ball for the most part very well, Kadarus and Goods ran the ball hard most of the night and Jalen Smith made some big plays out there at wideout.”
The defense had four sacks and stymied the Wildcats all night.
“We made some big plays with our D-line up front,” Hall said. “Our D-line is four returning starters, and three of those guys are juniors now, so they’re going to be around for a while.”
Northwood wasted no time taking early command of the game. On just the second play of the Chargers’ first possession, Pinnix fired a strike to 5-9 junior receiver Smith, who galloped in for the 55-yard score. Senior kicker Anthony Castro booted the point-after.
A bizarre team mental error by the Wildcats set up Northwood’s second score of the quarter. Ellis Llewellyn’s field goal attempt was blocked. The East Chapel Hill field goal team began walking to the sidelines with the live ball still resting at the 5-yard line. Northwood sophomore linebacker Michael Queen scooped up the ball and dashed 90 yards down the sideline to the Wildcats’ 5.
From there Rone, a 6-3 junior running back, took a handoff from Pinnix and crashed his 210 pounds up the middle for the 3-yard score.
Trailing 14-0, the Wildcats scored on their seventh possession, marching 80 yards in eight plays to make it 14-7. Stough lobbed a scoring pass to 6-1, 235-pound senior running back Colby Owens.
Key plays in the drive were a 21-yard scramble by senior running back Chris Fowler and a 41-yard pass play from Stough to 6-1 wide receiver Ty Woodard.
Castro added a little halftime breathing room when the Northwood placekicker booted a 27-yard field goal to make it 17-7 heading to the locker rooms. The Chargers took possession on their own 35 with just 27 ticks left on the clock but still managed to get off five plays and the score.
Northwood opened the scoring on its second possession of the second half with a 24-yard heave from Pinnix to a wide-open Smith back-pedaling into the right corner. Goods barreled into the end zone on a 3-yard run to make it 31-7 going into the fourth quarter.
Pinnix hurled a 12-yard TD to 5-11 junior wide receiver Tyler Whitaker and backup sophomore quarterback Jacob Fowler grabbed the ball on a botched extra point and zipped around end for a 2-point conversion to end Northwood’s scoring.
The Wildcats got their second score midway through the quarter when Stough aired out an improbable pass to Hankins, who hauled it in for the 46-yard TD.
Northwood 39, E. Chapel Hill 14
Northwood — Jalen Smith, 55-yard reception (Anthony Castro kick) 9:06
Northwood — Kadarus Rone 3-yard rush (Castro kick) 2:24
E. Chapel Hill—Colby Owens 5-yard reception (Ellis Llewelyn kick) :27
Northwood—Castro, field goal, :00
Northwood—Smith, 24-yard reception (Castro kick) 8:28
Northwood—Montel Goods 3-yard rush (Castro kick) 1:35
Northwood— Tyler Whitaker 12-yard reception (Jacob Fowler 2-point conversion) 9:45
E. Chapel Hill—Jack Hankins, 46-yard pass (Llewellyn kick) 7:32
Rushing, E. Chapel Hill, Jack Hankins 1-32, Colby Owens 6-31, Chris Fowler 8-12. Northwood, Kadarus Rone 13-57, Montel Goods 11-40,
Passing, E. Chapel Hill, Connor Stough 16-36-2-273. Northwood, Ti Pinnix 21-34-3-287; Jacob Fowler 1-1-8.
Receiving, E. Chapel Hill, Jack Hankins 3-135, Arcavio Parks 4-79, Ty Woodard 4-45, John Graham 3-12. Northwood, Jalen Smith 5-151, Kadarus Rone 5-30, Tyler Whitaker 2-26, John Atwater 2-23, Montel Goods 1-17, Brian Harrington 1-15.
Records-E. Chapel Hill 0-1, Northwood 1-0.