Fearing Fairfield might overcome Northmont yet again, Thunderbolts coach Tony Broering knew just what to do — entice defensive end Bryan Heyward to make a big play.
“The funny thing was I was just encouraging him to get a sack,” said Broering after Hayward instead recovered a Fairfield fumble inside the red zone with one minute left to preserve host Northmont’s 28-21 Week 2 high school football win Friday night.
“I was pleading with him. And then he gets a fumble to win the game and he says, ‘How’s that?’ I said, ‘That’s pretty good, buddy. I’ll take that.’ ”
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The four-year series comes to a close with each team winning twice, including a Fairfield sweep of the previous two seasons. It’s the first win for Northmont (1-1), which dropped a Week 1 opener at Winton Woods. Fairfield (0-2) is still looking for its first win after falling to Centerville, another Greater Western Ohio Conference member, in Week 1.
“We feel that’s the second week in a row we’ve given one away,” Fairfield coach Jason Krause said. “We’re playing a lot of new kids. Sooner or later they’ve got to get better under fire. It’s time to grow up and get going.”
Trailing 21-14 at halftime, Northmont rallied by posting a second-half shutout, highlighted by multiple big defensive assists. Senior linebacker Logan Jewsikow returned senior Dylan Moran’s blocked punt for a 5-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to pull the T-Bolts even at 21-all.
Northmont quarterback Miles Johnson, a junior transfer from Fairmont, connected with Drew Hickman in the corner on a 9-yard strike that held up as the winning TD with 7:56 left.
Led by junior quarterback Jeff Tyus’ nifty running and timely passing, Fairfield appeared on its way for another score with a 1st-and-goal on the Northmont 8. But Tyus couldn’t complete a handoff, Hayward pounced on the fumble and Northmont ran out with final minute.
“It was all instinct,” assured Heyward. “When I picked it up I felt so proud. The crowd was all cheering and everything. I just scooped it up. (Tyus) tried to get it but I just got under it before him.”
The teams combined for four touchdowns in a span of seven minutes during first-half fireworks. Mini Fairfield returner Raqwon Williams ignited the Indians with a 63-yard punt return for their first touchdown. But just 14 seconds later Northmont running back Devin Kenerly matched that with an 83-yard TD dash.
Malik Vann, an outstanding linebacker and Fairfield’s designated red-zone basher, scored twice on 1-yard runs. Fairfield also had a 30-yard field goal from freshman Nick Maddy.
Johnson was 12 of 21 passing for 120 yards to go with two TD passes and two interceptions. Besides Hickman, he also had a 9-yard TD pass to Donavin Wallace. Kenerly had 184 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Juthan McClain led Fairfield with 76 yards rushing but Tyus was just 9 of 25 passing for 116 yards and the Indians failed on all three extra points.
Northmont’s win was part of a 13-3 combined Week 2 effort by GWOC teams. In contrast, seven of the 10 Greater Miami Conference teams are winless, with Oak Hills at Elder on Saturday. Joining Fairfield at 0-2 is GMC heavyweight Colerain, which has lost close games to Greater Catholic League South members LaSalle and St. Xavier.
“We’ve got to break the schneid here and get a win and it doesn’t get any easier at Lakota West next week,” said Krause.
F: Nick Maddy 31 field goal
F: Raqwon Williams 63 punt return (Run failed)
N: Devin Kenerly 83 run (Brandon Goodwin kick)
F: Malik Vann 1 run (Kick failed)
N: Donavin Wallace 9 pass from Miles Johnson (Goodwin kick)
F: Vann 2 run (Kick failed)
N: Logan Jewsikow 5 blocked punt return (Goodwin kick)
N: Drake Hickman 9 pass from Johnson (Goodwin kick)
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