HAMLER — In a game most considered to be a mismatch, Northwood was able to hang tough against the No. 1
team in the state in Patrick Henry.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, it was only for the first three quarters of the game.
PH broke away from Northwood in the fourth quarter for a 41-14 victory Friday night in a Division V,
Region 18 quarterfinal at Patrick Henry High School.
Northwood finished the season 7-4 overall. PH (11-0) advanced to the regional semifinals to face
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good. They made plays when they had to and we didn’t. That’s what it boils down to,” Northwood head
coach Ken James said. “Physically, we were fine, especially up front on defense.We played hard and hit
them but didn’t get it done when we had to.”
PH controlled the game from the start, but couldn’t put Northwood away until scoring two touchdowns in
the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to break open what was a
“We were playing the No. 1 team in the state and we were just trying to come in here and try to win,”
Northwood senior offensive/defensive lineman Kyle Artino said. “We kept with them for about three
quarters. They just capitalized on our mistakes.”
Northwood’s offense couldn’t keep the Patriot offense off the field, converting only two first downs in
the first half and completing one pass in the game for 11 yards.
“We spent the whole game trying to find some stuff that we could do, that we could run,” James said.
“Offense is about getting in a rhythm and defense is about disrupting, and they disrupted our rhythm.”
The Rangers’ initial first down came on a 62-yard touchdown run by Zach Bermejo that cut PH’s lead to
21-8 after a two-point pass from Erik Russell to John Romstadt with 3:34 left in the second quarter.
PH answered with another TD with 34 seconds left in the half to take a 27-8 lead into the break.
“We were a little down at halftime,” James said.
But after a scoreless third quarter, Northwood responded with its best drive of the game. The Rangers
drove 60 yards before Bermejo ran in his second TD from one yard out to cut the lead to 27-14 early in
the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, a PH fumble was nearly picked up by Northwood that would have given the Rangers a
shot to get within one score. But PH recovered and Northwood would not come close to the end zone the
rest of the game.
PH then scored 14 points in a span of six minutes to put the game away.
“Suddenly we were back in it and gained some momentum,” James said. “And then when they put that drive
together and made it 33-14 that took it a serious amount of momentum from us.”
The Patriots out-gained Northwood, 415-140, and controlled the ball for the majority of the game.
PH’s All-Ohio running back, Justin Buenger, finished with 146 yards on 14 carries, including touchdown
runs of 43 and 49 yards. PH used two quarterbacks, as Luke George and Kasey Spence combined to throw for
192 yards and two touchdowns.
“They just kind of keep coming at you,” James said. “They’re not like a big-play team. They convert
third-and-five and they keep the chains moving and kind of wear you down and then they pop the big
Bermejo finished with 96 rushing yards on nine carries and two scores for Northwood. The Rangers lost two
fumbles, the only turnovers in the game.
The loss ended a successful season for Northwood, which at mid-season was 2-3. The Rangers claimed their
third straight Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship and qualified for the playoffs for the first
time since 2004.
“It didn’t end the way we wanted. But when we look back at it at some point in the winter, the seniors
look back on it five years from now, they’ll be proud of what they accomplished,” James said. “Not much
was expected of them. Getting in the playoffs was a really long shot, especially at mid-year.”
PATRICK HENRY 41, NORTHWOOD 14
PH — Buenger, 43 run (Creager kick)
PH — L. George, 1 run (Creager kick)
PH — L. George, 6 run (Creager kick)
N — Bermejo, 62 run (Romstadt pass from E. Russell)
PH — Tonjes, 3 pass from L. George (kick failed)
N — Bermejo, 1 run (run failed)
PH — Buenger, 49 run (Creager kick)
PH — L. George, 51 pass from Spence (Creager kick)
Total net yards
RUSHING: (N) E. Russell, 10-(minus-30); Jones, 9-36; Bermejo, 9-96; M. Prothero, 4-(minus-15); Whitmore,
1-31; Pressley, 3-11; (PH) Buenger, 14-146; L. George, 13-53; Miller, 2-4; Rosebrook, 4-9; McGraw, 3-8;
PASSING: (N) E. Russell, 1-5-0—11; (PH) L. George, 7-11-0—65; Spence, 9-12-0—127.
RECEIVING: (N) Bermejo, 1-11; (PH) Tonjes, 7-69; Buenger, 4-16; A. George, 1-20; Brubaker, 1-30; L.
George, 2-57; Rosebrook, 1-0.