By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The rain made for less than ideal playing conditions, but that didn’t stop the Northridge Raiders from executing the “Perfect Game Plan.”
The Raiders’ defense knew where Warsaw’s 5-11 (210) senior tailback Tristan McClone was at all times and due to that they were able to bottle up the back in a 24-0 NLC high school football win Friday night.
“Tonight carried over from what McClone did to us last year,” 6-1 (215) senior defensive tackle Lucas Wickey said. “He ran for 322 yards so we knew what he could do. The main thing we did was work ten times harder. When you work harder good things are going to happen.”
First-year Raider coach Tom Wogomon said, “This was a nice one for us. This win speaks volumes about our program. Warsaw plays a physical game and all week in practice we told the kids that had to match or do better than Warsaw’s level.
“Our defensive front four did a great job. They were able to get under the Warsaw linemen and keep McClone in front of them.”
McClone finished the game with 73 yards on 21 carries. His long run was a 27-yarder.
“He is a good back and a great kid,” Wogomon said. “The thing I like about him is whether he gains two yards or 12 yards he goes right back to the huddle and is ready to come at you again.
“We knew this was going to be a power game and our defense gave a whale of a effort. The conditions helped and so did the fact we got the lead. Warsaw is not the type of team that comes from behind.”
The Raiders took a 10-0 lead in the opening quarter in part to some Warsaw errors. The first two times the Tigers tried to punt the ball was snapped over the punter’s head. Northridge ended up with the ball at the Warsaw 39 and the Warsaw 2.
The Raiders got a 16-yard field goal on the second possession from 5-10 (710) senior Jeremy Buricaga at 4:50 of the first period.
On the ensuing kickoff Burciaga’s pooch kick was recovered by 5-11 (175) Raider senior Craig Kasten at the W-30. On second down 6-0 (171) senior quarterback Tanner Love connected with 6-0 (150) junior wide out Derek Woolsey on a 27-yard pass to the W-3. On first-and-gaol Love scored on the sneak and Buricaga booted the PAT.
“it’s important in an NLC game to get out front early,” Wogomon said. “I wish we could have gotten more than three points out of those first two Warsaw miscues.”
The Raider offense started clicking in the second half. Love found 6-0 (175) senior wide out Sam Ahonen on a 23-yard fade route with 10:20 left in the third. 5-11 (175) junior running back Travis Schlabach scampered 49 yards for a score at 7:48.
“After our lose last week at Plymouth the goal was to establish the run,” Wogomon said. “We did a much better job of it in the second half.”
Schlabach finished with 88 rushing yards on 11 carries. That‘s after he gained a total yards on his first five attempts.”
Northridge (4-1, 2-1 NLC) hosts NorthWood next Friday. Warsaw (3-2, 2-1 NLC) is at Goshen next Friday.