Fairmont upsets Northmont in overtime


KETTERING — A conservative game plan Friday night came back to haunt Northmont when Fairmont stormed back to score a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to tie the game 14-14.

The Firebirds thwarted Northmont’s first possession in overtime and then punched the ball into the end zone to secure a 20-14 victory to hand the Thunderbolts their first loss in the first conference game of the season for both teams.

With the victory Fairmont improved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Northmont fell to 3-1 and 0-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.

The Firebirds sit in a four-way tie for first place in conference play along with Centerville 3-1 (1-0), Wayne 3-1 (1-0), and Springboro 1-3 (1-0). Northmont is tied for last place in the GWOC with Miamisburg 3-1 (0-1), Beavercreek 2-2 (0-1), and Springfield 1-3 (0-1).

Northmont all but abandoned its successful deep pass offensive attack and instead relied on short passes and focused on trying to run the ball.

The explanation for this approach was simple and to the point.

“They were giving us a light box, so there were only five guys in the box, so we thought we could run on them,” said Northmont head coach Tony Broering, who does not call the offensive plays.

“They were double and triple covering Da’lin Wilkins and walking everybody out there, so we thought we could run it up in there,” Broering added.

After a scoreless first quarter Northmont engineered a 14-play, 75 yard drive to take a 7-0 lead with 3:55 left in the first half. The drive included a 37 yard pass from Deuce Cortner to Da’lin Wilkins to give the Thunderbolts a first and goal at the Firebirds’ 10.

On fourth and goal from the seven Cortner scored on a quarterback keeper. Jon Warren’s kick gave Northmont a 7-0 lead.

Dorian Brew recovered a fumble by Fairmont quarterback Brock Baker at the Northmont 30 on the Firebirds ensuing possession to preserve a 7-0 lead at halftime.

The third quarter featured only one possession by both teams. Fairmont received the second half kickoff and after a 19 yard drive was forced to punt from the Northmont 44. Daniel Seaton angled his kick out of bounds at the 13.

The Thunderbolts put together a 14-play, 87 yard drive that featured a pass to Daniel Ivory who spun away from a Fairmont defender after catching a short pass in the left flat to gain 27 yards for a first down at the Firebird’s 33.

Seven plays later Cortner fired a three yard TD pass to Wilkins in the end zone. Warren’s kick put Northmont up 14-0 with 11:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Fairmont returned the ensuing kickoff to the 39 where the Firebirds began what would become a clock eating, 15-play drive that lasted 6:56 minutes.

Freshman running back Damien Pattin scored on a one yard run and Max Gehring’s kick cut Northmont’s lead to 14-7 with 4:37 left.

The Firebirds kickoff resulted in a touchback. Northmont picked up four yards on two running plays and a pass to the right sideline sailed high and out of bounds. The resulting punt traveled only 21 yards with Fairmont starting its next drive from the Thunderbolts’ 47.

On the drive Fairmont quarterback Brock Baker completed two passes, one to Pattin for 14 yards for a first down just short of the 15 yard line.

On the final snap of the 13-play drive Baker found Asa Dunlevey wide open in the left front side of the end zone for a three yard touchdown pass. Gehring’s kick was good to tie the game at 14-14 with 14.3 seconds left.

In overtime both teams get the ball at the opponents 20 yard line. If one team scores the opponent still gets possession at the 20 to be given a chance to score.

Northmont got the ball first in overtime. Cortner got sacked on the first play, a four yard loss. On the next play Cortner fired a pass over the middle to Wilkins on a post pattern and Fairmont was slapped with a pass interference penalty.

That moved the ball half the distance to the goal line setting up a second down and two at the 12. A run by Calilien Grant made it first and goal at the nine. A two yard loss and a delay of game penalty set up a fourth down and goal from the 16.

Cortner tried to fire a pass to Wilkins in the end zone, but the pass was intercepted by Brock Baker to end Northmont’s possession.

Fairmont had Northmont on the ropes and delivered the knockout punch on the change of possession. On three running plays the Firebirds had a first and goal at the seven yard line. A false start penalty moved the ball back to the 12.

On second and goal Justin Turner, Jr. (17 carries, 60 yards) plowed to the six and on the next play Baker kept the ball and scored to give the Firebirds a 20-14 come-from-behind victory.

“That’s what happens when you let a team hang around in the fourth quarter and you don’t get too many opportunities to score,” Broering added. “We squandered some early opportunities in the first half, and they took advantage of it. The score should have been a lot different at halftime.”

Northmont amassed 241 total yards, 162 passing and 79 rushing. Fairmont had 187 total yards, 165 rushing and 22 passing. Time of possession showed Northmont at 23:53 and Fairmont 24:01.

Cortner completed 19 of 25 pass attempts for 162 yards with one TD and two interceptions. For the Firebirds, Baker completed three of four pass attempts for 22 yards and one TD with no interceptions.

Cortner also led the Thunderbolts with 55 yards rushing on 16 carries and one TD. Turner led the Firebirds with 60 yards rushing on 17 carries while Baker had 51 yards on 14 carries with one TD and Pattin had nine totes for 25 yards and one TD.

Reach Ron Nunnari by email: [email protected].

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