By STU SWARTZ
SPECIAL TO THE GOSHEN NEWS
One of the more rewarding football seasons in Northridge High School history came to a conclusion Friday night.
Perennial powerhouse Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger dominated the line of scrimmage and the Saints rolled to a 28-3 victory over the Raiders in a Class 4A first-round sectional game.
Mike Fiacable, 6-4 (194) senior quarterback, engineered a Dwenger offense which produced scoring drives of 57, 24, 62 and 44 yards.
Northridge, finishing 7-3, remains winless in four playoff matchups with Dwenger. But, the Raiders did get on the scoreboard as junior Hunter Hardin booted a 27-yard field goal with 8:38 to go in the second quarter.
“This is a moment you don’t look forward to,” said Raider coach Tom Wogomon. “From the first day I met with them, these seniors invested a lot and turned the program in a different direction. They kept that look in their eyes.”
The Raiders needed to generate something positive early to entertain thoughts of an upset, but it didn’t happen.
Dwenger scored on its second possession with Fiacable, keeping on an option to the right side, darting 15 yards for the score. Senior Trey Casaburo’s conversion made it 7-0 with 5:39 to go in the opening stanza.
Raider senior Sam Stahley knocked down a Fiacable pass early in the game and junior Payton Carson made a tackle for a loss of four yards.
An interception by junior William Blume set up the Saints for their second score. Senior Ryan Cinadr ran 12 yards for the touchdown and it was 14-0 with 16 seconds to go in the first period.
Hardin’s field goal for Northridge was set up by a 55-yard pass play, senior Tanner Love throwing to Carson.
Late in the second quarter, Raider junior Isaac Zickafoose registered his second sack of Fiacable in the game. He would later add a third.
“I thought our defense did a great job under tough circumstances,” said Wogomon. “We got pushed around some, but made them earn those 28 points. Dwenger’s tempo was quicker than what we saw on tape.
“We didn’t play very well and did some things uncharacteristic of this group all season. But, all that is a sidebar to the fine season we had.”
The Saints made it 21-3 on a 2-yard burst by senior Tyler Tippmann with 3:21 until halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Raider senior Sam Ahonen stripped Fiacable of the ball and it was recovered by Northridge junior Cody Miller.
The Raiders had a chance to score, but a long halfback option pass was dropped.
Dwenger’s only score of the second half came on a 44-yard pass from Fiacable to senior Ryan Watercutter with 1:52 remaining in the third quarter.
Late in the third period, Love completed passes of 31 yards to junior Derek Woolsey and 16 to Carson.
Junior Michael Fickert had a sack for the Northridge defense in the fourth quarter.
“This is the end for our seniors, but the beginning for our program,” said Wogomon. “As the sting of this loss wears off, they will all appreciate what they have done this year.
“The difference in this game was we just couldn’t run the ball. Dwenger forced us to throw more than we wanted to and we never could stretch the perimeter.”
Sectional semifinals are next Friday with East Noble visiting Leo and Dwenger hosting Angola.