SWBL football: Waynesville dodges Northridge upset bid

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Waynesville defeated host Northridge 23-8 in a Week 9 high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Waynesville defensive end Anthony Curry demanded the Spartans’ defense follow his lead. And why not? A three-year starter and two-time captain, time was running out on his senior classmates.

“We call it our Dark Side,” said Curry following a 23-8 Week 9 win at upstart Northridge on Thursday night. “We’re savages and we play hard.”

It was a matchup of two top-level Southwestern Buckeye League rivals, both in Division IV, Region 16 playoff contention.

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Streaking Waynesville (8-1, 6-0) secured no less than a tie for the SWBL Buckeye Division title. Should Middletown Madison (5-3, 4-1) win at Monroe (1-7) on Friday, that would set up a title-deciding Week 10 showdown when Waynesville hosts Madison in a regular-season finale.

Jerron Lander of Northridge (with ball) eludes Waynesville defenders Luke Zebell (11) and Caleb Lamb. Waynesville defeated host Northridge 23-8 in a Week 9 high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Northridge (6-3, 2-3) lost its second straight game and will be unable to make headway in D-IV, Region 16 from its No. 12 spot. Waynesville improved to No. 3 in Region 16 before Friday’s games. The top eight teams in each region following the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs.

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Waynesville hasn’t been the same since a stinging 21-20 overtime Week 2 setback to visiting Greeneview. The Spartans haven’t lost since and will take a seven-game win streak against Madison.

Phillip Garrison of Northridge (near) draws the attention of Northridge QB Jake Amburgy. Waynesville defeated host Northridge 23-8 in a Week 9 high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“It was a reboot for us,” recalled Waynesville coach Scott Jordan, in his fourth season as head coach. “As coaches, we’ve talked about how it might have been the best thing for our season because it did reboot us and from that point the kids have played pretty darn well.”

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Waynesville mounted a 9-0 lead on junior quarterback Jake Amburgy’s 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter and a 32-yard field goal by Elijah St. Pierre midway through the third.

Waynesville QB Jake Amburgy (right) is chased by Cameron Curington of Northridge. Waynesville defeated host Northridge 23-8 in a Week 9 high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Northridge pulled within 9-8 on Shawne Shehee’s 8-yard run and a 2-point run conversion by Darryl Story Jr. That was set up by a long kickoff return to the Waynesville 3 by Northridge sophomore Kavonte Turpin.

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But that Spartans’ Dark Side defense exerted itself in the fourth quarter when needed most. Waynesville accounted for the final margin on two late touchdown runs by Hunter Fillmore (three yards) and Brayden Dietz (13) with less than four minutes remaining.

Darryl Story Jr. of Northridge (with ball) eludes Zane Blasidell. Waynesville defeated host Northridge 23-8 in a Week 9 high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“Waynesville is very good and we knew that,” Northridge coach Bob smith said. “We played hard right to the end and we’re proud of them. We just came up short. It was a great opportunity. You couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

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Besides an outright SWBL title, Waynesville will secure a first-round home game in the playoffs should it beat Madison. Milton-Union (6-2, 3-1) also is in SWBL Buckeye contention. Franklin (7-1, 4-0), Bellbrook and Brookville (both 6-2, 3-1), and Valley View (6-2, 2-2) will decide the SWBL Southwestern Division title.

Isaiah McCallop of Northridge (with ball) is taken down by Seth Bloom (left) and Paul Dotson. Waynesville defeated host Northridge 23-8 in a Week 9 high school football game on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

“This is what high school football is all about,” Jordan said. “I’m super proud of them.”

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Although not eliminated from playoff contention, Northridge likely will have to settle for its best season in 22 years. For that to happen, Northridge will have to win at Preble Shawnee in Week 10.

“That’s our goal,” said Smith.

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