On a beautiful, Southern Ohio evening, the football Tigers of McClain traveled to the neutral location of Valley High School in Lucasville to face the Mohawks of Northwest (McDermott) High School. The installation of a new turf field and continued improvements at the Mohawk’s stadium caused the game to be moved to Lucasville.
When the game clock expried the Tigers were on the short end of the scoreboard, 35-7.
The Tigers are now 0-2 on the season, while Northwest improved to 1-1.
McClain won the toss and elected to receive the kickoff. After a quick three downs and a punt out of bounds by the Tigers, Northwest took over on its own 35. On their first series the Mohawk’s game plan became evident — run the football. At halftime the passing stats for Northwest were 0 yards on five attempts. They did not come to throw the ball on this night. In their first possession the three horseman runners of Northwest moved the ball down the field at will, capping the opening drive off with a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:52 remaining in the first quarter.
McClain got the ball back on a squib kickoff from the Mohawk’s placekicker at its own 31-yard line and began its second drive of the evening. Much like their opening drive though, a false start penalty, two short runs, and a sack upended the possession. Braeden Bergstrom punted the ball away for the second time and the Mohawk’s took possession on their own 49.
Following their game plan, the Northwest running attack was again in full force, only getting to third down one time in their drive down the field that ended with a 19-yard run for a touchdown with 29 seconds left in the first quarter. Another squib kickoff before the end of the quarter gave the Tigers the ball at their own 36 as the clock ran out and the quarter ended with Northwest leading 14-0.
The second quarter opened with the Tigers showing nice effort moving the ball. A mix of runs, pitches and a pass saw McClain progress steadily on first and second downs all the way down to the Northwest 15-yard line. There, though, on third down and eight yards to go, a designed run for Dalton Mischal turned into a fumble with Northwest recovering the ball at the 7:24 mark of the second quarter. Suddenly, going the other way, a visibly fired up Tigers squad was now on defense.
With Northwest again pushing the run, Rivers got lose for a long run out of his own end of the field down to the Tiger 4-yard line. On second and goal though the Mohawks coughed up the football and it was recovered by Mischal for the Tigers. After false starting on their first play, McClain coach Jake Orr-Zody’s squad put together another nice drive, reaching the Mohawk’s 6 yard line. However, a sack on third down and 10 made it a quick fourth down and 16 and a punt.
The Mohawk’s threatened to end the half with another score with the ball on the McClain 3-yard line, but they were unable to capitalize on the short field, running the down count to fourth down and taking a sack to send it to halftime.
The Mohawks went to the locker room with a 14-0 lead.
McClain came roaring out of halftime with a big kickoff by Bergstrom down to the 3-yard line. On second down a Mohawk runner fumbled the football and it was recovered by Smith for the Tigers on the 19-yard line. After three runs to pick up a first down, quarterback Braden Wright snuck his way into the endzone to put the Tigers on the board, cutting the Northwest lead in half to 14-7.
That touchdown saw the end of the scoring for the Tigers, though, as a tough Mohawks defense, combined with miscues and fumbles for McClain, kept the Tigers out of the endzone. Northwest went on to score three more times; a short run, a long fumble recovery, and a stellar 88-yard run by Campbell. Adding on the extra points after each touchdown, the scoreboard read Mohawks 35, McClain 7 as the clock expired.
It was Northwest’s coach Bill Crabtree first win as a head coach.
Northwest ended the night with 363 total rushing yards on 46 attempts, with Campbell leading the way with 173. McClain rushed the ball 39 times for 145 yds and was led by Mischal with 11 for 69, Matt Bliss 9 for 56 and Sam Faulconer picking up 16 yards on five carries. Quarterback Braden Wright ended the night with 12 rushes for 15 yards and a touchdown along with 37 yards in the air. Thirty of those yards came in the fourth quarter on a nice 30-yard pass play to Landen Eubanks.
McClain falls to 0-2 for the season. Its first Frontier Athletic Conference game will be at Jackson on Oct. 4.
McClain will take on Zane Trace next week at the Pioneer’s Stadium just outside of Chillicothe. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.