After winning three games last season, it was on Northmont’s football team to right itself and be a player in the Greater Western Ohio Conference as it had for much of this millennium. Players rallied around second-year head coach Tony Broering and took that mission to heart.
“We always have something to prove,” said standout junior running back/linebacker Devin Kenerly after jump-starting Northmont to a convincing 35-0 shutdown of host Vandalia-Butler on Thursday night. “Everybody is always going to doubt you coming off a season like that.”
At 3-1, Northmont already has matched last year’s win total. Kenerly, the Thunderbolts’ only two-way player, stunned Butler early by returning a fumble recovery 6 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. He then busted at least three tackles for a 12-yard TD run in the second quarter.
“We practice scoop and score all day during practice,” Kenerly said. “I saw the ball and just went for it.”
Northmont senior quarterback Brenden Reck was just as impressive, tossing TD passes of 30 yards to Jordon Meriner and 12 yards to Jabari Perkins. Reck completed 14 of 22 passes for 130 yards, those two scores and no interceptions. Kelynn Taylor added 97 yards rushing for Northmont, which also scored on Gabe Newberg’s fumble recovery in the end zone.
Butler (2-2) still appears to be struggling after losing senior QB Tyler Burley for the season to injury in a Week 2 defeat of Tecumseh.
This was the renewal of an old-school rivalry that began more than 60 years ago and spanned several league affiliations. The schools, located about seven miles apart, hadn’t played in high school football since 2007.
“A lot of the guys on my staff have played in this series, so they were amped up,” Broering assured. “It’s lost that rivalry a little bit and I think we’re going to get it back. I know the two communities were vibrant. I talked to the (Butler) AD and (Butler coach) Nathan (Hyatt) and how many tickets they sold and community activities they did and we were the same way. So that’s cool; I like that stuff.”
Even better is a modest two-game win streak after Butler lost at Fairfield in Week 2. The Bolts will need all that momentum for next week at two-time Division I state runner-up Wayne, which is at Miamisburg in a showdown of unbeatens Friday. Northmont is on a 5-1 run over the last two seasons.
Butler had a two-game win streak snapped before a capacity crowd at Memorial Stadium.
“This is important to everybody because this rivalry hasn’t been going on for so long,” Kenerly said. “It feels good to get the win. It was good to get the momentum going and get everybody hyped.”