DUNLAP — Concord fans witnessed a whole bunch to love, particularly from Concord’s defense, which got to Love a whole bunch.
The Minutemen sacked Northridge quarterback Tanner Love a whopping 10 times and picked him off three times on the way to a 35-8 Class 4A sectional semifinal football victory Friday night at Jake Field.
The hosts built their 35-0 lead by the 5:15 mark of the second quarter, and had nine of those sacks and all three of those picks by the midway mark of the third quarter.
“We think Tanner Love’s a real good quarterback,” Concord coach Tim Dawson said of the junior who threw for 215 yards and one pick in the teams’ regular-season meeting, a 56-28 Minuteman win three weeks ago, “and we thought they’d try to throw it more, so we wanted to get pressure on him. I thought we had a great defensive game plan. We kind of locked down the corners so they couldn’t throw the ball over our heads and we adjusted a few things to try to get more pressure.”
Junior defensive tackles Michael McQueen (2.5) and Curtis Brown-Watson (2) combined for 4.5 of the sacks.
Sophomore linebacker Kevin Moreno intercepted a second-quarter pass in stride and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.
As it so happened, his twin brother, Kyle, intercepted one in the third period, but it hardly produced a twin result, as Kyle ended up being tackled in his own end zone for a safety after making an attempt to come out.
On Concord’s offensive side, meanwhile, junior quarterback Trevor Wilmore dashed for touchdowns of 11 and 43 yards, then later passed to Chris Martin for a 23-yard TD, while DuWhan Alford rushed for a 39-yard score.
“We told the players before the game that it’s a game we should win, but Northridge plays hard and you just never know,” Dawson said. “Championship teams show up from the very get-go and get after it and we did that.”
The Minutemen (9-2) substituted liberally in the second half as they advanced to next Friday’s sectional final at Jake Field against Wawasee (7-4). Concord clubbed the Warriors 54-7 early in the regular season, but Wawasee’s won its last five.
The Raiders closed at 2-9. Many of Northridge’s players engaged in extended hugs with head coach Jonathan Kirkton one at a time after the game.
“I’ve got nothing to say tonight, guys,” Kirkton told reporters.
The visitors got their lone TD with 3:20 left on a Cam Ridenour 10-yard run. Sophomore Michael Fickert had a fumble recovery and sack, senior Devin Puckett a fumble recovery and senior Trevor Ouimet a pair of tackles for loss.
Concord 35, Northridge 8
Scoring by Quarters
Northridge 0 0 2 6 — 8
Concord 14 21 0 0 — 35
School — Scoring Play
C — Trevor Wilmore 11 run; Ryan Tepe kick, 5:38.
C — Wilmore 43 run; Tepe kick, 2:54.
C — Kevin Moreno 85 interception return; Tepe kick, 10:51.
C — DuWhan Alford 39 run; Tepe kick, 7:48.
C — Chris Martin 23 pass from Wilmore; Tepe kick, 5:15.
N — Safety, Concord player tackled in end zone, 7:56.
N — Cameron Ridenour 10 run; run failed, 3:20.
Officials: Joe O’Bryan, Granger; Tim Stutsman, Goshen; Al DeRue, South Bend; Chuck Henry, Mishawaka; Aaron Koszyk, Osceola.
Team Statistics Nr Co
Net yards rushing 131 201
Net yards passing 54 83
Total Yards 185 284
First Downs 12 15
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 4-2
Penalties 3-20 3-25
Northridge: Rushing — Travis Schlabach 9-67, Cameron Ridenour 9-35, Tanner Love 15-14, Levi Benton 1-7, Craig Kasten 1-5. Passing — Love 6-16-42 (3 int.), Payton Carson 1-5-12 (0 int.). Receiving — Schlabch 3-27, Ridenour 1-12, Kasten 1-8, Sven Johnson 1-7. Fumble recoveries — Devin Puckett , Michael Fickert.
Concord: Rushing — Trevor Wilmore 7-72, DuWhan Alford 6-70, Jackson Marlow 5-37, Larry Smith 6-15, Adam Glanders 1-11, Cullen Fisher 1-11. Passing — Wilmore 4-6-47 (0 int.), Ryan McKibbin 3-8-29 (0 int.), Fisher 1-2-7 (0 int.). Receiving — Franko House 4-24, Chris Martin 1-23, Timothy Yoder 1-18, Glanders 1-11, Jace Krull-Ott 1-7. Interceptions — Kevin Moreno, Brandon Thomas, Kyle Moreno. Fumble recovery — Kyle Moreno.