By DAN RIORDAN
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SOUTH BEND —
Last year Northridge’s win over South Bend Adams was by forfeit. Friday night, the Raiders earned their victory on the field.
In head coach Tom Wogoman’s debut, Northridge grinded out a 14-7 win over the Eagles at School Field in the season opener for both teams.
With 5:57 left in the game, the Raiders looked to salt the contest away. Up 14-7 and at the Eagles’ 6-yard line, running back Travis Schlabach took a toss toward the far side of the field and headed for paydirt. After getting wrapped up by an Adams defender the ball squirted out and waddled into the endzone where Eagles defensive lineman Danny Pinter fell on the ball.
What could have been a, “Here we go again” moment for a squad coming off a 2-9 season, turned out to show a new-found resolve under Wogoman.
On Adams’ ensuing drive, the Eagles fumbled the ball for a loss of 11 yards, had a minus-2-yard run and another run for just two yards before punting.
“We asked them ‘What are you going to do when adversity kicks in’”, Wogoman said. “And you look at that stand they made and see how they responded.
The Eagles had just one more drive on the night that also stalled.
Northridge got on the board first with a five-play, 65-yard drive that was capped off by quarterback Tanner Love rumbling in from 2 yards out on a quarterback keeper.
That score didn’t come until the 5:28 mark of the third quarter.
Neither team scored in the first half. In fact, neither team ran a play in the red zone in the first half.
After Northridge’s first score, the Eagles fumbled on a botched option play.
The Raiders came right back and scored again. This time Love dove in from a yard out and after another Hunter Hardin point-after attempt, Northridge was up 14-0.
Four turnovers were a killer for Adams. Two came on fumbles while quarterback Colin Glick got picked off two times.
Northridge finished the night with three turnovers. Two on fumbles and one Love pick.
Love settled down after a rocky start to finish 5 of 14 for 78 yards and the two rushing TDs.
Despite the fumble, Schlabach did the heavy lifting out of the backfield with 16 carries for 82 yards.
Northridge (1-0) hosts South Bend Riley at 7 p.m. Friday.