WICHITA, Kan.—It’s hard to measure the heart of a team, but when Northwest ran all over Southeast Thursday night, Southeast proved their team has heart and talent. Just not enough discipline.
As the game began both defenses were unrelenting. Northwest surprised everyone when they threw the ball several times and chose to run the ball less than normal. Northwest Coach Steve Martin said “we loosened them up a bit” when discussing his plan to come out passing, instead of running his All-State Selection running back Deron Thompson.
The game’s first score came off of a safety when Southeast fumbled a hand-off in their own end zone. The following drive brought the first touchdown of the game, for Northwest. Choosing to ditch the passing attack, Martin unleashed the Grizzlies. Building the lead to 22 points by the half, the Grizzlies shut out Southeast in the first half.
Defense, so prevalent in the first half, chose not to show up in the second. Football turned into a track meet with both teams running the score up. Southeast, showing some trickery with a fake field goal, finally got on the board. Only down 2 possessions Southeast was back in the game.
Northwest was having none of it. Running up the score, trying to put the game out of reach, the Grizzlies had victory in sight, but the Buffaloes just weren’t going away. Keeping things interesting Southeast ran their hearts out. Putting up 20 points in the 3rd quarter and putting them in position to give Northwest a run for their money.
Northwest handled it well, staying 2 possessions ahead for the entire game. Southeast was outscored 20-8 in the final quarter, but they never quit. Leading his team on a final drive, when the game had been decided, running back Trey Griffin and the entire Southeast Buffaloes team showed the kind of character every coach looks for in their men. Scoring for the final time in the 4th quarter after the Buffaloes had done their duty, they played their hearts out.
Northwest, still uncomfortable stood on the gas, one last time, pushing the lead to 28 points and distancing themselves from the Buffaloes putting them in their rear-view mirror.
In victory, when discussing their slow offensive start running back Deron Thompson said the Grizzlies needed to “put the bad stuff behind (them)” and “wake up” offensively. Ever confident, Thompson said he “expected a good night thanks to his offensive line.” That confidence will undoubtedly carry over into the next game giving momentum to an already stellar, running football team.