Northwest held off a tough Orrville team 34-13 Friday night at Smilek Stadium. The Indians, behind the running of Dan Beers, scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away on a hot muggy night.
Despite the 21-point win, the game was extremely close for most of the night with the weather playing a tremendous factor. Both teams lost plenty of players to heat cramping.
WHEN IT WAS OVER
The Red Riders controlled the pace and the tempo for the entire game Friday night until a costly fumble closed the door on any chance of an Orrville victory.
Northwest nursed a 14-13 lead with nine minutes left in the game. Northwest freshman punter Dan May, playing in his first high school game, pinned Orrville back on its own five-yard line.
On second down and 10, The Indians blitzed Besancon. While Northwest senior Tim Caillet, dragged Besancon down in the end zone, Besancon flipped the ball forward in an attempt to avoid the sack.
Northwest’s Jordan Berenyi scooped up the ball and ran two-yards for a touchdown. The score swung the momentum in the Indians direction. They never looked back.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
No kid stuck out more on the field Friday at Smilek Stadium than Joe Besancon. In my humble opinion he was clearly the best high school football player on the field.
Besancon will provide many exciting moments this season Red Riders as he is a proficient passer that makes plenty of things happen with his feet. He was seemingly at his best when the plays weren’t Friday night.
He scampered for 58 yards in the first half and completed 12-19 passes for 151 yards as he gave Northwest fits.
The 5-foot-11 junior was very impressive in the way that he would absorb hits and slither away from would be tacklers, although it wouldn’t hurt him to add a little more sliding into his repertoire.
Besancon played the game with moxie and it showed in how he carried his team. It also showed in how both coaches, and Northwest running back Danny Beers, raved about him after the game.
Northwest coach Vic Whiting said he was forced to use a spy in the second half in an attempt slow Besancon. Whiting got a little lucky too. Besancon’s leg’s were so cramped up during the second half his coach, Doug Davault, said he could barely move.
He still mustered 52 more yards on the ground, but was 8-17 for 70 yards through the air, mostly because the Red Riders were in a play-from-behind passing mode.
What is unfortunate is that Besancon’s spectacular play will be overshadowed by the costly fumble and a hard to swallow forward-pass penalty on the following drive. The mistake moved the Red Riders back 15 yards and effectively ended Orrville’s night. The junior was spectacular in every moment but those two.
The game couldn’t have played out better for Beers. Orrville managed the clock and kept the ball out of Northwest hands for most of the game and reasonably so. Despite limited touches Beers was still able to rush for 195 yards on 16 carries.
The Indians rode Beers on the first drive of the game, an 11-play drive that resulted in a touchdown. He was responsible for 23 yards on six carries during that drive.
Between then and the fourth quarter, Beers would carry the ball just five times for a total of 53 yards and a touchdown. In the second quarter he had two carries for 14 yards. Beers had just one carry in the third quarter, a three-yard run.
With a temperature in the upper 80’s, that valuable rest time couldn’t have been more important. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, and plenty of players on both sides crippled by cramping, Beers was ready to kick his running into high gear.
It was just five carries in the fourth quarter…
First carry: Six yards.
Second carry: 18 yards
Third carry: 37 yards
Fourth carry: three yards
Fifth carry: 55-yard touchdown run
On the final 55-yard scamper it didn’t even look like Beers had been touched at all. Heading into the final quarter he had 76 yards rushing. An 119-yard fourth quarter gave him 195 for the game.
Not a bad way to start the season for Mr. Beers.