Having only 28 players on the roster is enough of a challenge for the 0-5 Northmor Golden Knights football team. Playing in a persistent rain on a muddy field on an unseasonably cold night didn’t help, and the Buckeye Valley Barons’ defensive effort wasn’t a welcome sight, either.
The Barons held Northmor to just a single yard of total offense in the game and finished with a 50-0 Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference whitewash of the visiting Knights Friday at Baron Field.
Buckeye Valley (3-3, 2-3 MOAC Red) coach Mike Marshall was quick to give the Northmor (0-6, 0-5 MOAC Blue) players and coaches a great deal of respect.
“We’ve all been there,” Marshall said. “I know I’ve been there. That kind of stuff happens, but you line up and play the game, and give them credit, their kids played very hard.”
But the Barons’ defense did much of the work. Northmor completed one four-yard pass but finished with minus 3 yards in rushing on 39 attempts to finish with the one total yard.
“We’ve had a couple really good defensive nights,” Marshall said. “Last week, I thought we started playing better defensively in the second half and we played pretty well defensively tonight, and that’s a good thing.”
Buckeye Valley, after a slow start, got things firing in the second quarter, and finished with 229 yards of offense in the first half and 315 yards of offense in the game.
The rain and mud made things very sloppy. Both teams combined for a whopping 18 fumbles — Northmor with 12 and Buckeye Valley 6 — and lost five combined, the Knights losing the ball three times and the Barons twice.
But it also helped the Buckeye Valley rushing game, which gained 229 yards on 43 carries in the contest. Nine different Barons toted the ball, led by Caleb Green with 10 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
Kevan Green had a 46-yard run on the Barons’ first play from scrimmage and finished with a net of 42 yards on eight carries. Austin Hilt also rushed six times for 34 yards and Brad Krueger had seven carries for 32 yards plus a pair of touchdowns.
Kevan Green also completed 5 of 6 passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half. Shawn Free led the receivers with two catches for 55 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Mark Firkins also caught a five-yard scoring strike just over two minutes before.
Mason Long had trouble getting the ball through the uprights early on, but still made four extra points, had five touchbacks on kickoffs and even scored on a two-point conversion.
“You usually don’t kick the ball out of the end zone on nights like this, but Mason kicked the ball well,” Marshall said. “Kevan threw well, Caleb rushed well, we had a lot of kids touching the ball. For us, it was a really good night. You score a bunch of points, you get a shutout and everyone who was healthy in this program played tonight.”
Northmor actually opened the scoring when the snap slipped through the hands of punter Mason Jardon and out of the end zone for a safety with 5:38 left in the first quarter.
Caleb Green recorded his first touchdown of the night in the second quarter, scoring on a 36-yard touchdown run 8:47 before halftime. Firkins caught his touchdown pass from Kevan Green with 5:37 left in the half with Long running in the two-point conversion after a fumbled snap. Free and Kevan Green hooked up on their scoring pass with 3:29 left in the half, and Krueger scored from a yard out with nine seconds left before halftime to put Buckeye Valley ahead 29-0 at the break.
Krueger added another one-yard run with 7:02 left in the third, and Will Crecelius recovered a Northmor fumble in the end zone with 5:52 left in the period to put the Barons ahead 43-0. Caleb Green added the final touchdown with 2:19 left in the third on a four-yard touchdown run.
Jamie Baldridge led the Northmor rushers with 21 yards on 15 carries and Devin Wireman had 11 yards on three runs in the fourth quarter. Zach Carroll and Matt Cotter hooked up on the Knights’ four-yard pass play. Carroll was 1 for 4 through the air.