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NORTON 35, NORTHWEST 6 A ‘hat trick’ for the Panthers

PHOTO BY CINDY EMERSON | FOR THE BGNN

Norton Panthers running back Lucas Dobbins carries the ball in Friday’s game against the Northwest Indians.

PHOTO BY CINDY EMERSON | FOR THE BGNN

Norton senior Lucas Dobbins (36) blocks a Northwest field goal attempt, which was then run back for a touchdown by Panthers senior running back Brady Troutman (3).

By DYLAN DAUGHERTY
BGNN sports writer

CANAL FULTON  This season of high school football kicked off Friday for the Norton Panthers who traveled to Northwest to beat the Indians 35-6 on their home turf, Dr. Martin Smilek Stadium.
A hat trick is usually a term associated with soccer; however, Zach Bowman showed that the term is not only in use during soccer.
It was a very sluggish start between both teams as they combined for more penalties and penalty yards in the first quarter than anything else. Nine total flags in the first quarter alone, and the scoreboard read 0-0 with three quarters of football to play. Definitely first-game-of-the-season jitters were a factor as both teams came out flat and undisciplined.
Coach Glen Kruger must have gotten into the Panthers’ heads at the end of the first quarter, because the flat, non-energized team became a much better squad from there. They played with pace and attitude the rest of the way. Something that any team looks for on any given week.
Coach Kruger and the Panthers found the Northwest defense’s weakness on their first drive of the second quarter with isolation run plays and fullback dives. Norton ran the goal line I formation and played power running ball with seven linemen, one tight end who was basically a glorified linemen in this formation, a running back, a fullback and obviously the quarterback. On the backs of Noah and Buddy Willig along with Lucas Dobbins, this drive went 62 yards on 11 plays and was topped off by a 1-yard QB sneak by Zach Bowman for a touchdown.
The next Northwest drive matched the Norton energy and attitude for about six plays. Northwest quarterback Chase Badger found wide receivers Cross and Pennington for a total of 24 yards. Cross then ran for another 34 yards followed up by a Satterfield run of 12 all the way to the 2 yard line.
This is where the Panthers flexed their muscles on the goal line, stuffing Satterfield twice at the line of scrimmage to force a third down in which Badger’s pass got tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell for an incomplete pass. Northwest lined up for the field goal, and it got blocked, recovered and returned 97 yards for a Panther touchdown by Brodey Troutman. This would in fact be the momentum and turning point Norton needed.
The Panthers got the ball to start the second half, and they let Zach Bowman air it out after softening up the Northwest front seven. Bowman found Willig for a combined 44 yards and also found his wide receiver Lewis for an 11-yard pick up. Lucas Dobbins added in 12 yards during the drive, and it was capped off by a Zach Bowman 1-yard touchdown run – his second of the night.
The drive lasted half of the third quarter and was just what the doctor (or coach) ordered to show Northwest they can run AND pass the ball efficiently. After that long drive, Northwest had to find the end zone for momentum. However the offense went three and out on its first drive of the third quarter.
This is when Norton opened it up. They received the punt and in one play Lucas Dobbins broke a tackle on an inside run and scampered 63 yards for a Panther touchdown. With long drives and quick strikes, the Norton offense was humming and firing on all cylinders!
After back-and-forth punting possessions for both teams, Northwest finally got on the board after a quarterback change. They went from Badger to Pappas. Not sure if it was performance or injury based. Pappas fired a bullet to wideout Kraft for a 62-yard gain, and then back-to-back pass interferences set up a Satterfield 5-yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good and this made the score 28-6 Norton with 9:19 left in the game.
Zach Bowman was not done, however. He wanted to show not only in soccer are hat tricks important. Buddy Willig started the next drive with a 24-yard run. Then a flourish of runs by Willig and Dobbins led to a 25-yard naked boot quarterback keeper from Zach Bowman, who he scored his third and the final touchdown of the game. Not to go unnoticed either is the fact Colin Starling went 5-for-5 in the extra points after touchdowns, which is hard to come by nowadays.
The final possessions by both teams had the JV squads in for the experience in such a one-sided victory. For Norton, Marcus Brown and Jason Beverly got a couple of runs in the garbage time.
All in all, Norton’s Panthers came out and flexed their muscles in Week 1 of what seems could be a very nice season behind Bowman and Kruger. Norton will play its home opener next Friday against University School while Northwest will travel to play the Dukes of Marlington.

Any questions, comments, or concerns can be emailed to Dylan Daugherty at Dylan
daugherty4774@gmail.com.

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