NORTHWESTERN 65, SOUTH AIKEN 7
It was a tough night for South Aiken. The Thoroughbreds were on the wrong end of a 65-7 drubbing on Friday, losing to a powerhouse Northwestern squad.
The Trojans (3-0) showed why they advanced to the Class AAAA, Division II state championship game last year and why they're ranked among the very best teams in South Carolina – and the nation – this season. Led by star quarterback Mason Rudolph, Northwestern picked apart the Thoroughbreds (1-2). It amassed 509 yards of total offense, playing at a rapid pace, and applied pressure to South Aiken that caused it to make mistakes and lose its cool.
“I'm to blame because I lost my composure. If I lose my composure, my team's going to lose their composure, and it won't happen again,” T-Breds head coach Jeremy West said, pointing to a series at the end of the first quarter when the Trojans blew the game open with a safety followed by a touchdown return on the free kick. “It was 7-0 with 43 seconds to go in first quarter. We had a call in end zone, I didn't see it, for chop block in end zone for safety. Then we kicked it off, and they returned it for a touchdown and just didn't ever regain our composure.”
Northwestern head coach Kyle Richardson also pointed the touchdown return on the free kick as the turning point.
“That kickoff return was huge,” said Richardson, whose team has outscored its three opponents 154-43. “That got our guys pumped up and flipped the tables.”
The Trojans were doing just fine on offense to that point but hit a higher level following the nine-point boost that occurred in the final 14 seconds of the first half. They scored three touchdowns apiece in the second and third quarters, with Rudolph connecting with Dupree Hart for three of those scores.
“We executed on offense like we knew we could,” the Oklahoma State commitment said of the Trojans' first road game of the season. “We treated this like a business trip and took care of business. … I'm glad to be 3-0.”
Rudolph finished the game completing 17 of 23 passes for 274 yards and five touchdowns, including scoring passes to Quadarius Fair and Mustafia Love. After Rudolph and most of the other starters left the game in the third quarter, Northwestern didn't miss a beat.
It scored two more touchdowns when Harper Woods connected with Logan Rudolph and Chris Bowler powered his way to the end zone on a 3-yard run.
The Trojans did what they wanted to, when they wanted to against the T-Breds. The home team struggled to find a rhythm on offense.
South Aiken opened the game with a nice drive that consumed nearly six minutes off the clock and worked deep into Northwestern territory. But it was stifled by a pair of penalties, something that plagued South Aiken all night. For the game, it was whistled for 12 penalties that cost it 78 yards, but more importantly momentum.
“We stopped ourselves on offense. We'd get a good run and there's some laundry on the field. Seemed like there was always some laundry,” West said of the penalties, of which only one was called on Northwestern. “We never could get in rhythm.”
South Aiken quarterback Bo Baldwin (12-for-21 for 105 yards) had a solid game, but couldn't connect with his receivers on a number of deep passes down the field. Running back Adam Allen provided some tough running and the highlight of the game for the T-Breds. He broke loose for a 48 yard run on a fourth-and-1 setting up his own touchdown a few plays later.
Although Allen finished with 90 yards and the score on 11 carries, his big run couldn't stop the Trojans' momentum. They tacked on nine more points following, tackling Bowen Smith in the end zone for another safety.
“We did good things on offense, defense and special teams,” Richardson said.
South Aiken played without Rasool Clemons (elbow injury) and Kevin McReynolds (concussion) because of injuries suffered last week. Leading tackler Rod Wise was limited to just the first half as he battled injury as well. West expects all three to be available next Friday when the T-Breds visit Petticoat Junction to play Silver Bluff (2-1).
“Everybody will be available next week,” West said. “We'll get back on track next week, got a big game against Silver Bluff. Got to correct our mistakes. Stop stopping ourselves. Tackling was terrible tonight.”
Noah Feit is the sports editor for the Aiken Standard and has been a professional journalist for more than 14 years after graduating from Syracuse University.
NW 16 20 20 9 – 65
SA 0 0 0 7 – 7
NW–Mason Rudolph 21 pass to Quadarius Fair (Sully Foy kick good) 3:39.
NW–SA penalty in end zone, Safety 0:14.
NW–Jaquavious Mackey free kick return 63 yards (Foy kick good) 0:00.
NW–Rudolph 47 pass to Dupree Hart (Foy kick good) 7:57.
NW–Rudolph 12 pass to Hart (Foy kick good) 5:24.
NW–Rudolph 11 pass to Hart (Foy kick no good) 1:03.
NW–Rudolph 3 pass to Mustafia Love (Foy kick good) 9:45.
NW–Harper Woods 6 pass to Logan Rudolph (Kick good) 9:14.
NW–Chris Bowler 3 run (kick no good) 3:21.
SA–Adam Allen 1 run (Owen Myers kick good) 11:20.
NW– South Aiken's Bowen Smith tackled in end zone, Safety. 7:32.
NW–TJ Robinson 56 run (Kick good) 1:56.
NW–TJ Robinson 1-56 1TD, Julian Shockley 3-30, Chris Bowler 5-30 1TD, Dupree Hart 2-22, Mason Rudolph 2-14. TOTAL: 13-152.
SA–Adam Allen 11-90 1 TD, Damian Brown 2-8, Ryan McNutt 4-6, Bo Baldwin 5-6, Jeremy Hamilton 1-(-1), Matt Albertson 2-(-1), Bowen Smith 2-(-3), Skyler Lightbody 1-(-4), Taivon Garvin 5-(-14). TOTAL: 33-87.
NW–Rudolph 17-23-274 5TDs, Harper Woods 8-11-67 1TD, Matthew Worley 5-6-16. TOTAL: 30-40-357 6TDs.
SA–Baldwin 12-21-105, Smith 1-1-7. TOTAL: 13-22-112.
NW–Hart 5-126 3TDs, Quadarius Fair 2-54 1TD, Logan Rudolph 5-46 1TD, Love 4-45 1 TD, Quiveon Beckham 2-26, Ahmad Dewese 1-18, Shockley 4-13, Tori Adams 4-12, Bowler 2-11, Team 1-6.
SA–Jordan Scott 4-30, Damian Brown 3-25, Skyler Lightbody 1-21, Chance Holbrooks 1-11, Mcnutt 1-9, Marvin Hammond 1-7, Cameron Ladd 1-6, Will Holbrook 1-3.