PLYMOUTH – It was a valiant fight but in the end NorthWood’s Panthers simply had too much as they took a 43-16 win over Plymouth on Homecoming night at the Rockpile.


“They are a handful. They know how to get the ball to their skilled guys,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “They present a lot of challenges when they have the football. They can run it and they have a multitude of people they can get the ball to in space, it’s really hard to play zone against them. They have speed on the outside and they beat our best cover guy a couple times and it’s a tough match up.”


The Rockies executed the game plan close to perfection scoring on two long drives and eating up the clock in the first half, leading for much of the first 24 minutes, but forced to punt with under two minutes to play in the second quarter the Panthers took over just on their side of the 50 yard line and just :40 later a Trey Bililnski pass to Deandre Smart put NorthWood up at halftime 16-12.


In all the Panthers had the ball just four times in the first half and scored on two of those possessions.


NorthWood set the tone taking the opening kick of the second half on a long drive of their own that was capped with a Bronson Yoder touchdown run six minutes later. While Plymouth had promising second half drives, none of them ended in points.


“They’re a very good football team but with all that being said I think we left some points out there,” said Barron. “First play of the game we should have scored a touchdown (on the opening kickoff) we have to be ready to play and be in that moment and we ended up with three blockers with one guy and we get pushed out of bounds.”


“They figured out some things, and we have to find a way to throw the ball down the field when we get those five or six chances we have to capitalize on those play actions.”


And while the Rockies rose to the occasion in the first half, NorthWood had all the answers in the second.


“They didn’t flinch,” said Barron. “But I really think we played well. We played well all night. I’m happy with how our offense has progressed. We put some new schemes in from last week, some things that we had to. Our backs ran hard, our offensive line did a good job of creating some movement and our kids just battled.


“Our kids have embraced that this is who we are. Our coaches have done a great job of installing it, we doing a better job of finding out who the pullers are, where the double teams need to happen, our running backs are doing a better job off blocking and they’re all running the ball hard.”


Benji Nixon had another big night with 141 yards on 17 carries also scoring one of the Plymouth touchdowns. Tristen McMillen had the other score with 61 yards on 17 carries.


“It was a physical ball game. NorthWood’s not overly big on defense but they’re quick, and they’re well coached,” said Barron. “I think we came out with the idea we were going to win the ball game.”


Plymouth falls to 4-5 on the year and travels to Angola to face the 7-2 Hornets. NorthWood stays unbeaten at 8-0 and hosts Columbia City.


Score by Quarters

Plymouth 6 6 0 0 – 12

NorthWood 0 16 12 15 – 43


Scoring Summary

First Quarter

P – Braxton Bennitt 10 yard pass from Cole Filson (Failed two point conversion)


Second Quarter

N – Deandre Smart 29 yard pass from Trey Bilinski (Bilinski run)

P – Benji Nixon 41 yard run (Two Point conversion fails)

N – Smart 21 yard pass from Bilinski (Brayton Yoder run two point conversion)


Third Quarter

N – Bronson Yoder 3 yard run (Failed two point conversion)

N – Bronson Yoder 14 yard pass from Bilinski (Failed two point conversion)


Fourth Quarter

N – Five yard pass from Trey Bilinski (Kyle Luster kick)


Rushing – (Plymouth 51-307) B. Nixon 17-141 TD, T. McMillen 17-61, B. Bennitt 11-23. (NorthWood 28- 187) Brayton Yoder 8-98 TD, Payton Bear 9-51, Bronson Yoder 6-18.


Passing – Filson 5-10, 75 yds. TD, INT. Bilinski 18-22 234 yards, 4 TD.


Tackles – Jeremy Drudge 7.