May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Northwood keeps rolling with 29-12 victory over University in PCL opener

Northwood’s running back Nick Demaio scores on a 37-yard TD run Friday night in a Pacific Coast League game against University.

Before Friday’s Pacific Coast League football opener between Northwood and University, Timberwolves coach Pete Mitchell said he has been pleased with how his team has started quickly in games this season.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Northwood jumped out to an early lead in the opening quarter and looked to be on its way to an easy win.

But the Timberwolves had to survive numerous miscues and got a big game from Seth Locke as the senior free safety bailed Northwood out in a 29-12 victory over the Trojans at University High.

Locke scored two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass to lead Northwood (5-1, 1-0) to its fourth consecutive win.

On the Timberwolves first possession of the game, they marched 72 yards in seven plays to take a 6-0 lead. Running back Nick Demaio capped the scoring drive with a 37-yard TD run.

On the Trojans third play on the ensuing possession, Locke intercepted a pass and raced 40 yards for a touchdown to up the Timberwolves lead to 13-0 with 5:02 left in the opening quarter.

“We come to expect big plays like that from Seth,” said Mitchell. “He’s one of our team captains and he provides great leadership and he’s having a great season. Two other guys who are unsung heroes on this team are Luke Demaio and Xavier Cousar. They are our anchors.”

In the second quarter, the game turned into a penalty-plagued affair with both teams being flagged numerous times and slowing the game to a crawl.

University’s offense showed some life in the quarter but a slew of penalties stalled several drives. Midway through the quarter, the Timberwolves went on an 11-play, 82-yard scoring drive to cut the score to 13-6.

Jared Harlan hauled in a 5-yard TD pass from Thomas Keeling and University seemed to gain the momentum and have the upper hand.

However, their momentum was short lived.

Two plays following a Northwood three-and-out, Locke stepped in front of another  pass and returned it 64 yards for his second TD of the game and increased Northwood’s lead to 20-6 at halftime.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” said Locke. “I’ve never did that in a game before. When I caught the ball, there was so much adrenaline going through my body. I kept thinking where do I run to, but I got great blocking and I took it to the house.”

The Trojans (1-5, 0-1) outplayed the Timberwolves in the second quarter as they ran 25 plays to Northwood’s five in the quarter and out-gained Northwood 172-70 in the first half but couldn’t capitalize.

A crucial second turnover and several costly penalties set the University back on its heels and the Trojans found themselves trailing by double digits at the break.

University running back Eddie Castillo had a strong game for the Trojans as he rushed for 78 yards on 14 carries.

Penalties continued to mar the second half as both teams struggled to get on track.

Northwood did manage to successfully pull off a trick play to extend their lead to 26-6 in the third quarter. Demaio took a direct snap from center and then pitched it to Locke who then threw a 13-yard TD pass to quarterback Jaden Piazza.

University added a fourth quarter touchdown on a short TD run by Branton Lucas but it was too little, too late.

“It wasn’t pretty and we made way too many mistakes but it’s a win and to beat University on their home field is an accomplishment,” said Mitchell.

Trojans coach Scott Meyer said his team has to keep moving forward.

“They made more big plays than us,” said Meyer. “I think our defense played well but we have to keep working hard and eliminate our mistakes.”

The Trojans play at Portola next week while Northwood takes on Woodbridge.

STATS

NW                           13   07   06    03   –   29

UNI                           00   06   00    06   –   12

RUSHING: NW, Demaio 6-55, Mould 8-27. Uni, Castillo 14-78, Lucas 13-43.

PASSING: NW, Piazza, 5-18-1, 65 yards; Locke 1-1-0, 13 yards, 1 TD. Uni, Keeling 18-33-2, 138 yards 1 TD

RECEIVING: Luke Demaio 2-27, Arena 2-22. Uni, Morgan 5-45, Fernandez 3-54.

-Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone