There was no doubt that Friday night's season ending loss to the Greenwood Woodmen hurt the Northview Knights. But Greenwood's 27-14 victory in the opening round of Class 4A Sectional 14 also proved the Knights made great strides this season.
"This was an easy game for us last year. But [Northview] came out prepared and played well. They made plays and made us cough the ball up," Greenwood coach Rick Wimmer said comparing the win to last year's 42-0 cake walk in the sectional semifinals.
The Knights came within four plays of upsetting the No. 9-ranked Woodmen in the opening round of the tournament.
Greenwood scored two fourth quarter touchdowns and stopped Northview twice inside the 15-yard line en route to the 27-14 victory at Northview High School. Greenwood (9-1) will host Owen Valley next week.
"Hats off to Greenwood. They made some plays and we didn't. We had two fourth and short yardage situations where we didn't get the push, we missed a field goal," Northview coach George Gettle said.
"My kids played hard. We were down [14-0] at half, and we've obviously made a lot of improvement. Last year [the final score with Greenwood] was 42-0, we were never in the game. This year we went toe-to-toe with them and played good football."
The game boiled down to four plays for Northview.
Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, the Knights drove to the Greenwood 11-yard line where the drive stalled. A high center snap led to a missed field goal.
After cutting the margin to 14-7 in the third period, Northview's Jared Timm intercepted a pass at the Northview 19-yard line to stop a Greenwood drive. But on fourth down, the Knights came up a link short at the Woodmen's 9-yard line and turned the ball over on downs.
With Greenwood leading 20-14 and 6:55 to play, Northview fell one yard short on a fourth down and four play. Greenwood took over at mid-field and Lucas Lipp scored his third touchdown of the night on a four-yard run to put the contest away.
"It was a game in the second half. [Northview] came out and made it a game. Last year this was an easy game for us. But [Northview] came out and played well," Greenwood's Wimmer said.
Down 14-0 at halftime, Northview capitalized on two Greenwood turnovers to tie the score 14-14.
Northview's Jared Timm stopped Greenwood's opening possession of the third quarter when he recovered a fumble at the Knights' 12-yard line.
After throwing the ball just one time in the first half, Northview opened up the offense in the third quarter. Northview quarterback Broc Miller completed a 20-yard strike to Tyler Coltharp and 38-yard play to Chase Yocom to put the Knights on the Greenwood 6-yard line. Miller ran the final yards.
"[The game plan] had a lot to do with last year. I felt like that's what let them get ahead of us. I wanted Broc to settle into the game and not be forced into decisions that could be detrimental," Gettle said.
Miller was 9-13 passing for 116 yards and one touchdown pass and ran for 69 yards and another touchdown.
"Broc Miller obviously played his best game of the year tonight. He really stepped up," Gettle said.
Northview's Dustin Helwig intercepted a Greenwood pass with 1:23 left in the third quarter and less than two minutes in the fourth quarter the Knights tied the score 14-14.
Miller found Coltharp for a 13-yard gain and hooked up with Timm on a 14-yard scoring play.
Greenwood came back with a six-play scoring drive, quarterback Jeff Geoghegan scoring the go-ahead touchdown from the two-yard line with 8:23 to play.
However, an unsportsman-like conduct penalty left Greenwood with a 35-yard PAT kick that failed, leaving the margin at 20-14.
On the ensuing possession, Northview drove to the Greenwood 48-yard line and came up a yard short on fourth down and four.
"We felt like we had them by formation. We just didn't get a good double team to knock them off the ball. If that would have happened I think we would have got it," Gettle said.
Greenwood marched 53-yards to put the contest away on Lipp's four-yard touchdown run.
The loss ended Northview's season at 7-3 with a second straight WIC championship.
"Over the last two year we're 16-5, we're about 80 percent winning. The Seniors have been a big part of that. We expect to win now at Northview High School," Gettle said.