By LEXI KANTZ
The Northridge Raiders kicked off Homecoming Night against the Northwood High School Panthers at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
The Raiders ended a 25-year drought against the Panthers, winning 38-14.
“This atmosphere is what it’s all about. Our fan base has been great this year,” said Northridge Head Coach Tom Wogomon.
The coin toss to start the game was won by the Panthers with the Raiders receiving. Northwood’s Connor Miller kicked off the game, punting into Raider territory. Raider’s running back Cam Ridenour carried the first ball, advancing into scoring territory. The Raiders chose to kick in their first points of the game, with Hunter Hardin placing the ball through the goal posts for three and bringing the score to 3-0 Raiders.
As the Panthers pushed to gain some yards, the Raiders continued to outrun them with quarterback Payton Carson throwing a successful pass to running back Travis Schlabach to score the first Raider touchdown of the night with 5:18 to go in the first quarter. The extra point was good, putting the Raiders up 10-0 over the Panthers to end the first quarter.
Starting the second quarter, the Panthers began to gain ground, with quarterback Will Kirkwood running in for a Northwood touchdown bringing the score to 10-7 after a successful extra point kick.
Barely taking a breath, the Raiders responded with a 90-yard touchdown by quarterback Payton Carson. With the extra kick successful, the Raiders upped the score 17-7.
After a few bobbled balls on both sides, the Panthers were able to add some points to the board with running back Luke Edwards making the catch for the Northwood touchdown and extra point, bringing the score to 17-14. The Raiders ended the quarter with a final touchdown by Cody Miller, bringing the score of the first half to 24-14 with the extra point a success.
The second half took a bit longer to see any scoring action, with neither team findind the end zone until the fourth quarter.
Two back-to-back Raider touchdowns by running backs Travis Schlabach and Craig Kasten iced the in Northridge’s favor.
“This made for a great win! We were able to establish a good running offense. Payton Carson’s kick off return was probably the turning point for us,” said Wogomon.
NorthWood coach Scott Hoover was disappointed with the road loss.
“We have plenty of things to work on in both offense and defense. Tonight we just weren’t physically tough,” Hoover said.
Looking ahead to next week, the Raiders host Goshen and NorthWood heads to Elkhart Memorial.