On Friday night the Northview faithful got to celebrate Homecoming with a decisive 40-6 victory over Western Indiana Conference foe Owen Valley.
The victory was the first for the Knights against the Patriots since the inception of the league five years ago. "This is a real big win for us," commented Northview coach George Gettle afterwards. "It's the first time we beat them and we have a big game coming up next week."
That big game Gettle referred to is against the Vincennes Alices who are the top-ranked team in 4A currently. But on Friday, all targets were on Owen Valley from the beginning for the Knights.
Northview took the opening kickoff and brought a packed house to their feet with a lightning quick five-play, 66 yard drive that saw two big pass plays from Logan Whitman to Michael Landry. The two plays, one for 22 yards and another for 24 yards set up a 17-yard touchdown ramble for Jordan Garrison to put the Knights ahead 7-0 just 1:45 into the game.
But then the offense stalled.
Luckily, the defense was their to pick them up.
The Northview defense stymied the Patriots throughout the first half, holding them to just 59 total yards of offense and forced starting Owen Valley quarterback Levi Deckard out of the game under a barrage of hits in the half.
Meanwhile the Northview offense sputtered until the final minute of the half when they drove 94 yards on the arm of Whitman.
After an 11-yard run by Garrison got Northview to the 17-yard line, a 49-yard strike to Landry put the Knights in position for a 12-yard strike to Craig Greenwood and then a 22-yard touchdown pass to T.J. King with just five seconds on the clock. "I give the kids credit on that drive," said Gettle. "They didn't panic and they have a lot of confidence in their quarterback and receivers. With the high school rules that stop the clock on first downs, we stuck to our game plans and got the score."
That score seemed to deflate the Patriots a bit, but the beginning to the second half was perhaps the final straw.
After being forced to punt from their 35-yard line on their opening second half drive, Northview's Doug Porter flew in from his left side position and blocked the Patriot punt.
"That was something that Coach (Kevin) Dean saw and we made the adjustments at halftime. The credit for that goes to him," said Gettle.
That play set up a seven-yard touchdown gallop by Garrison and opened the floodgates for the Knights who would score 26 points in the quarter.
Another muffed Patriot kick gave Northview the ball on the Owen Valley 12-yard line on the next drive and Kyle Nees got the scoring honors on a three-yard run and a 27-0 lead.
Another four plays and out forced another punt, this one went to Northview's Jamie Bays who caught the ball, headed to the sideline and outraced the Patriot defense for a 66-yard touchdown return that sealed the deal for the Knights.
Landry's 26-yard touchdown catch would finish the scoring for the Knights and give him a 134 yard receiving night and Whitman just short of 200 yards passing for the game. Whitman passed the 1,000 yard passing mark during the contest as well.
All told the Knights gave up just 163 total yards, nearly 60 of those on the final Owen Valley drive against Northview reserves.
"The defense played great tonight," commented Gettle. "We're getting better. We're playing with confidence and that comes with practice and hard work."
The Knights (3-2 overall, 3-0 WIC) face Vincennes at home next Friday night at 7:30 p.m.