July 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Northwood football coach preparing team for competition in new Foxtrot League

Northwood players take the field for a game last season. (Photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Northwood High School football coach JC Clarke has a few goals for his team entering the 2024 season, which definitely has some new twists to it.

“I’m hoping we stay healthy and make the playoffs,” he said. “(We) would like to compete for the league title, and of course beat any Irvine teams on our schedule.”

As a result of the major re-leaguing plan for most Orange County football teams, Northwood has only three Irvine teams on its schedule, non-league games vs. Irvine Friday, Aug. 23; Woodbridge Friday, Sept. 13 and Portola Friday, Sept. 20.

Northwood will be in the Foxtrot League with Laguna Beach, Orange, Fountain Valley, Aliso Niguel and Dana Hills.

“Not happy about the new league, nothing wrong with the other teams, just think high school football is best when playing traditional rivals and there is a perfect six team Irvine league if you include Beckman, which happens to be our the closest high school to Northwood,” Clarke said.

Northwood will be led by two-time All-CIF lineman/tight end Joseph Harper, who played with a soft cast to protect his fractured wrist last season but is recovered and ready to have another big year as a senior, Clarke said.

“He does so many things for our team on both sides of the ball,” Clarke said. “Last year he set the school single season sack record with 17 1/2 and career record with 35 1/2 sacks and he has a year to go.”

There are other top defensive players as well, Clarke said.

“Sun Tao and Quintin Lynch are third year starters on the O-line and D-line, we expect a lot from them.” Clarke said. “Eddie Petrusin and Issac Kwon are returning two-way skill players with lots of potential. Tristian Tran, who was one of our top linebackers last year and Cole Hildalgo, who was one of our best receivers, are back this year.”

Clarke said three quarterbacks will be battling for the starting job.,

“All three  (Noah Green, Gavin Lounsbury and Roman Suarez) have plusses for our team and things they need to work on,” he said. “The competition is so even we may not know to game one.”

Northwood was 4-6 overall and 1-2 in the Pacific Coast League last season and did not advance to the CIF playoffs after two memorable seasons before that.

The Timberwolves won the CIF Division 11 title in 2021, the first in school history, and the Division 8 crown in 2022.

2024 SCHEDULE

Home games at Irvine Stadium

Friday, Aug. 23 (H) vs. Irvine

Friday, Aug. 30, at Sonora

Thursday, Sept. 5, (H) vs. Pacifica

Friday, Sept. 13 at Woodbridge (University)

Friday, Sept. 20, at Portola

Friday, Oct. 4, (H) vs. Laguna Beach

Friday, Oct. 11, at Aliso Niguel

Friday, Oct. 18, at Orange (Fred Kelly Stadium)

Friday, Oct. 25, (H) vs. Fountain Valley

Friday, Nov. 1, at Dana Hills

(Seventh in a series of summer football previews).

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com