Northmor’s big second half sinks Hornets

Published 1:17 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

GALION — It was a tale of two halves.

Facing a high-powered Northmor Golden Knights’ offense, Coal Grove managed to play a perfect first half, by chewing up clock, converting on fourth down plays, and making key defensive stops.

But that wouldn’t be the case in the second half, as the underdog Hornets fell to the Golden Knights 44-22 in the opening round of the Division 6 playoffs.

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Caden Turner led the way for the Hornets. The sophomore fullback had a game-high 115 yards rushing on 19 carries and two touchdowns. Kaden Murphy finished with 20 rushes for 88 yards. He also had two catches for seven yards.

Northmor took the opening kickoff and got into the end zone in three plays, as quarterback A.J. Bower tossed a screen pass to Jaxson Wenger, who bobbed and weaved his way through traffic 45-yards for the opening score. Caleb Schnuerer added the extra point to make it 7-0.

Coal Grove responded with an 11-play scoring drive to stun the home crowd. The drive featured a 16-yard burst by Murphy on the second play from scrimmage. Then later in the drive, Turner had a barreling 18-yard gain to put the Hornets inside the red zone.

The drive was capped off when Rylan Smith nosed his way in from one-yard out for the touchdown. Gavin Gipson pushed his way in on the two-point try and Coal Grove took an 8-7 lead with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter.

Northmor would quickly move back down the field, getting all the way down to the Coal Grove 24. But key defensive plays would halt the drive, as Joe Scarberry would make a tackle for loss on third down, and Murphy would follow on fourth down by stopping Hunter Fulk short of the line to gain.

Coal Grove then pieced together a 15-play drive, that included a clutch 11-yard run by Murphy on fourth-and-seven to keep the drive alive. Turner would get the honors and finish the drive with a two-yard score to give the Hornets a 14-7 lead.

Turner would later score his second of the night from three-yards out and then run in the two-point conversion to give Coal Grove a 22-14 lead.

Landon Roberts would pick off a desperation heave from Bower at midfield to secure the Hornets lead at the break.

The Hornets (5-6) couldn’t have played a more perfect first half, scoring on all three drives and holding the ball for over 17 minutes.

But things began to unwind to begin the second half, as Northmor (9-2) recovered an onside kick and set up shop at the Hornet 47. Five plays later, the Golden Knights found pay dirt as Paul Cramer scored on a two-yard run. Carson Campbell ran in for the two points and the game was tied at 22 all.

Coal Grove would get the ball near midfield on their next possession and face a critical fourth-and-two at the Northmor 47. Murphy would get the ball off-tackle, but a host of defenders were there and drove Murphy for a loss of 13, giving the Knights the ball back deep in Hornet territory.

With the momentum fully in their favor, Northmor’s offense began flexing its muscle. Two quick drives of five and four-plays resulted in two more rushing scores from Cramer to extend the Knights’ lead out to 37-22 after three quarters.

Bower would add one more touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, hitting his tight end Cameron Goldbach on a crossing route to finalize the scoring at 44-22.

Coal Grove 8 14 0 0 = 22

Northmor 7 7 23 7 = 44

First Quarter

Nor — Jaxson Wenger 45 pass from AJ Bower (Caleb Schnuerer kick), 10:52.

CG — Rylan Smith 1 run (Gavin Gipson run), 5:43.

Second Quarter

CG — Caden Turner 2 run (run failed), 8:01.

Nor — Jason Wenger 30 pass from AJ Bower (Caleb Schnuerer kick), 5:48.

CG — Caden Turner 3 run (Turner run), 0:30.

Third Quarter

Nor — Paul Cramer 2 run (Carson Campbell run), 10:03.

Nor — Paul Cramer 4 run (Caleb Schnuerer kick), 5:37.

Nor — Paul Cramer 5 run (Cramer run), 1:35.

Fourth Quarter

Nor — Cameron Goldbach 10 pass from AJ Bower (Caleb Schnuerer kick), 7:08.


CG Nor

First downs 17 18

Rushes-yards 55-267 24-98

Passing yards 7 243

Total yards 274 341

Cmp-Att-Int 2-6-0 20-24-1

Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-yards 10-76 6-65

Punts-average 2-16.5 1-27.0


Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Coal Grove: Kaden Murphy 20-88, Caden Turner 19-115 2TD, Gavin Gipson 12-59, Rylan Smith 4-5 TD; Northmor: Carson Campbell 15-74, Paul Cramer 9-24 3TD.

PASSING–Coal Grove: Rylan Smith 2-6-0 7; Northmor: AJ Bower 20-24-1 234 3TD.

RECEIVING–Coal Grove: Kaden Murphy 1-7; Northmor: Jaxson Wenger 6-114 2TD, Bo Landin 4-45, Hunter Fulk 8-66, Carson Campbell 1-8, Cameron Goldbach 1-10 TD.