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Northmont withstands Fairmont comeback for 24-21 win on Saturday

Northmont football coach Tony Broering warned his players a delayed defeat of visiting Fairmont was no sure thing. Not even with a 14-point lead to begin Saturday’s resumed Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover showdown.

It was one of many Week 2 high school football games throughout the area that were postponed on Friday because of repeated weather delays and completed on Saturday.

“They were coming back here for a reason and it wasn’t to capitulate or take a knee,” said Broering.

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Fairmont scored twice in 37 seconds but Northmont held on for a 24-21 win on Saturday morning before a sparse return crowd. Northmont led 21-7 with 7:35 left in the fourth quarter when play resumed on Saturday and had possession deep in Fairmont territory.

Northmont quarterback Miles Johnson eludes Fairmont’s Kahil Jones-Whitaker. Northmont defeated visiting Fairmont 24-21 in a Week 2 high school football game that was suspended on Friday due to weather delays and completed on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Northmont junior Brandon Goodwin’s 28-yard field goal to cap Saturday’s opening drive increased the Thunderbolts’ lead to 24-7. Fairmont responded with a short TD run by senior Aaron Jackson and following a recovered onside kick, another 3-yard touchdown blast by Jesse Deglow.

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Fairmont drove to midfield when the game ended.

Senior quarterback Miles Johnson completed two long scoring passes to Justin Golson and Michael Franklin added a short scoring run in the second half as Northmont mounted the 21-7 lead on Friday.

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The Ohio High School Athletic Association requires all contests stop for 30 minutes if lightning or thunder are present. The countdown restarts after every incidence.

“It’s the word lightning,” said veteran referee Bob Juliano. “If I see lightning or it’s so-called heat lightning, or we hear thunder, then it’s postponed.”

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Johnson connected with Golson on first-half scoring passes of 55 and 35 yards. However, Johnson was unavailable the second half due to dehydration. He transferred to Northmont from Fairmont after his sophomore season and was among the GWOC’s passing leaders as a junior. The teams did not play last season.

Northmont senior Gabe Newburg (right) is helped off the field by teammate David Weherley after injuring an ankle. Northmont defeated visiting Fairmont 24-21 in a Week 2 high school football game that was suspended on Friday due to weather delays and completed on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Fairmont uncharacteristically lost four first-half fumbles and recovered just as many more miscues. Northmont junior linebacker Andrew Knick pounced on the first fumble, which led to Golson’s first score. Knick also had a blocked punt.

“After the implosion we had Friday night, it was good to see them respond the way they did,” Fairmont coach Dave Miller said. “We put (the ball) on the ground and you can’t do that.”

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Fairmont pulled within one score when Deglow scored on a short run. His touchdown run with 14 seconds left in Week 1 was the game-winner in a 12-6 defeat of visiting Alter.

Fairmont lost four first-half fumbles. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Northmont junior QB sub Keaton Kesling competed several passes, capped by Franklin’s score to put the Thunderbolts up two scores. Kesling finished the game for Northmont on Saturday.

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Northmont’s defense was hard hit. Senior defensive end Gabe Newburg lasted just three plays before leaving with a severe ankle injury. Verbally committed to the University of Michigan, he did not return.

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Neither Northmont senior linebacker Jestin Jacobs nor senior defensive tackle Jamar Walder played. Jacobs is verbally committed to Iowa.

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“It is GWOC football,” Broering said. “Every week is going to be like that. We were down a lot of guys. A lot of kids had to grow up quick.”

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