GALION — The Northmor Golden Knights picked up a win last week in the first round of the playoffs, setting up a game against Beverly Fort Frye, who beat Northmor in the postseason last year, 6-0.
“We’re two pretty different teams coming in to this game than we were last year,” Northmor coach Scott Armrose said. “We are way different, especially on offense, and they are a lot different as well.”
In the first round of the playoffs, the Knights secured a 28-16 win over Chillicothe Southeastern. Northmor struck first on two Conor Becker runs, one from 6 yards and the other from 28 yards out. The Panthers scored a touchdown in the second to set the halftime score at 12-8, but a Hunter Mariotti pass to Blake Miller for 15 yards pushed the edge to 20-8 late in the third. Southeastern scored again halfway through the fourth to trim the lead to 20-16, but Mariotti and Becker’s 26-yard connection for a score put the nail in the coffin.
Northmor amassed 227 total yards Friday over the Panthers. Becker toted the rock 28 times for 139 yards and two scores. Mariotti was 8-of-12 for 75 yards and two scores. Miller and Becker both hauled in four catches apiece.
Friday was the Knights’ first postseason win in program history.
“My initial thoughts are how incredibly proud I am of our coaching staff and our kids, not just our starters, but all our players in the program,” Armrose said. “We are having a lot of fun and I’m just happy to be apart of it.”
Fort Frye is coming off of a 34-14 win over Fairbanks in the opening postseason game. The Cadets held only a 14-7 lead at the break, but they poured it on in the second half, scoring twice in the third quarter and notching the final score in the fourth to pick up the 20-point win.
Fort Frye’s offense had a field day last week, piling up 489 total yards. Quarterback Tate Engle recorded 237 yards through the air, as well as four touchdowns. Brady Schilling notched 134 receiving yards and two scores on seven catches, while Brian Atkins hauled in six passes for 69 yards and another two scores. On the ground, Evan Schob totaled 114 rushing yards and Tyler Fisher kicked in another 79 and a touchdown.
“We expect them to come out and be a big play offense,” Armrose said. “We need to limit their big plays and make them drive the ball. It’s going to come down to who can make the big plays and who turns the ball over less.”
At this point in the season, Armrose said most of the physical preparation is in the books. He knows what his players can do on the field, but this week will come down to the mental preparation.
“Right now, the big thing is focus,” Armrose said. “I know they’re going to play as hard as they can. It’s about focus and paying attention to the game plan.”
A year ago, Fort Frye and Northmor met in the opening game of the playoffs. It was a nil-nil draw until the waning moments of the contest, where Engle linked up with Schilling for a 26-yard strike to put the Cadets ahead 6-0 and the Knights ran out of time. Despite the sour taste left in their mouth after last year, Northmor is not focused on revenge.
“We haven’t really put a whole lot of emphasis on that,” Armrose said. “Of course, it’d be nice to beat the team that knocked us out last year, but we haven’t talked about it too much.”