From Staff Reports
CLEAR SPRING — Northern forced five turnovers and were able to weather a couple of its own to fend off Clear Spring 17-14 Saturday evening in high school football action in Clear Spring.
The Huskies picked of four passes from the pass-happy Blazers, and were able to fall on Clear Springs’ only fumble to stop an offense that ran 64 plays to Northern’s 39.
Justin Derato gave Northern an early lead on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Meshach Metz with 5:37 left in the first quarter.
It was Metz’s only touchdown pass, but the Huskies quarterback came up with three of Northern’s biggest catches by collecting three of its interceptions. The first two of his picks led to Northern points, including the touchdown pass to Derato.
Derato kicked a 25-yard field goal with 2:30 left in the first after Metz’s second pick to make it 10-0.
Besides the three interceptions, Metz led the team with 15 tackles, and was 5 of 6 passing for 51 yards and the touchdown.
The Blazers closed to within 10-7 on a one-yard run by Damian Poet four minutes into the third quarter.
Northern stretched the lead on the legs of Trevon Jones later in the third. The junior running back, who finished with 127 yards on 16 carries, accounted for the final Huskies’ points when he ran 74 yards with 4:02 left in the third.
The Blazers’ final touchdown came off of Northern’s second turnover. Brandon Blair scooped up a fumble at midfield and returned it all the way to trim the lead to 17-14.
Despite running 25 fewer plays than Clear Spring, the Huskies outgained the Blazers 229-168. Each team ran the ball 33 times, but Northern managed 168 yards while holding the opposition to 58.
A big part of Northern shutting down the running game and picking off four passes had to do with the pressure that the defense was able to put on the Clear Spring quarterback. Ryan Miller recorded four sacks of his own, and Brooks Carr added two more.
Northern lost a long touchdown on a penalty and another on an inadvertent whistle when the referees blew an option play dead after the fullback, who did not have the ball, was tackled at the line of scrimmage.
The Huskies (2-3) get a bye this week and will resume playing on Oct. 18 at 1-4 Mountain Ridge.