NAPPANEE —Unveiling some head-turning fashion, NorthWood broke out virtually all-red, color-rush uniforms Friday night against Indianapolis Chatard.
It didn’t matter.
Unveiling some head-turning ability, the top-ranked Trojans broke out their all-around dominance and soared past the Panthers 48-21 in a high school football mismatch at Andrews Field.
Indiana’s new running-clock rule – the one in which the clock runs continuously in most second-half situations when there’s already been at least a 35-point spread at halftime – came into effect with Chatard already up 41-6 by the break.
“The competitor in me hated it,” NorthWood coach Nate Andrews said of the new rule, “but I don’t know, I probably liked it better than I thought I would (tonight).”
The Class 3A No. 1-ranked Trojans (2-0) scored touchdowns each of the six times they possessed the ball in the first half.
They led 27-0 by two minutes into the second quarter, before the 4A No. 4-rated Panthers (1-1) settled in for a 14-play, 68-yard TD drive capped by quarterback Nate Newcomer tallying from 2 yards out.
Chatard started the second half by making it seven TDs in seven possessions, good for a 48-6 lead, before NorthWood closed the game with a pair of touchdowns in the final
Both of those scores came on receptions by junior Kyle Sellers, the first a 3-yard toss from Newcomer and the second a dazzling 79-yarder in which he took a shovel pass from Newcomer and weaved through Trojan defenders to the delight of Panther fans who hung around until the end.
“Look, I wish we would’ve come out a little tougher tonight,” Andrews said. “We were on our heels (at the start of the game). Some of that was them and some of it was us, but I guess that’s why we scheduled it – so this doesn’t happen when it counts.”
While NorthWood was missing a handful of players due to injuries, including “five-way player” Tanner Feenstra, as Andrews described the junior, more bodies probably wouldn’t have changed much against the Trojans.
“Great team – great, great team – and a lot of class,” Andrews assessed of Chatard. “I have a ton of respect for that program, which is another reason I said it was OK to play them.”
While many game contracts outside of conference opponents are home-and-home in consecutive years, Andrews said this was a one-year deal.
The Trojans owned a 288-107 advantage in total yards from scrimmage by halftime, highlighted by Daylen Taylor rushing for 173 yards and touchdowns of 78 and 69 yards on just seven carries.
They also got a 44-yard punt return for a score from Andrew Sowinski.
Taylor, who did not carry the ball in the second half, owns 270 ground yards in two games after totaling 1,447 as a junior last season.
The Panthers – even though they committed no turnovers and just two penalties – suffered their most lopsided loss in Andrews’ six seasons as head coach, surpassing a 50-28 decision against Plymouth in his first year back at his alma mater.
The 41 first-half points allowed were more than his team had given up in any full game other than that contest against the Rockies.
NorthWood went into Friday’s outing with a 21-1 home record since Sept. 19, 2015, the only defeat being a 28-21 overtime decision against Angola in 2017 sectional play.
The Panthers were facing a team from the Indianapolis area in the regular season for the first time in their 51-year history.
Chatard and NorthWood had previously met only in state championship games — with the Panthers winning 7-0 in 2003, sandwiched around Trojan victories in 1998 and
That 2003 game is the only state championship loss Chatard has ever suffered in 14 appearances. The Trojans’ 13 state titles make them Indiana’s all-time leader.
“We’ve been banged up, so I hope we have some more players next week,” Andrews said. “We had young guys in the first half, and even more young guys played in the second half. We’ll lick our wounds and see who can suit up.”
NorthWood opens the Northern Lakes Conference portion of its season next Friday by visiting Concord.
INDIANAPOLIS CHATARD 48, NORTHWOOD 21
Scoring By Quarters
C — Daylen Taylor 3 run; George Forsee kick; 8:54.
C — Andrew Sowinski 44 punt return; kick failed; 6:33.
C — Sowinski 8 pass from Kyle Cheek; Forsee kick; 0:34.
C — Taylor 78 run; Forsee kick; 10:13.
N — Nate Newcomer 2 run; kick blocked; 5:04.
C — Taylor 69 run; Forsee kick; 4:40.
C — Derion Gilbert 2 run; Forsee kick; 0:49.
C — Sowinski 14 pass from Cheek; Forsee kick; 3:40.
N — Kyle Sellers 3 pass from Newcomer; Jason Borkholder pass from Newcomer; 8:39.
N — Sellers 79 pass from Newcomer; Jerson Sanchez kick; 3:53.
Chatard: Rushing — Daylen Taylor 7-173, Derion Gilbert 15-66, Kyle Cheek 1-21. Passing — Cheek 10-15-106 (0 int.), Carter St. John 1-1-9 (0 int.). Receiving — Andrew Sowinski 4-42, Jack Annee 4-39, Logan O’Brien 1-14, Thomas Coleman 1-11, Jackson Bolen 1-9.
NorthWood: Rushing — Jaden Miller 12-45, Nate Newcomer 17-36, Kaden Lone 1-9, Veshon Malone 3-9. Passing — Nate Newcomer 7-9-128 (0 int.), Kyle Sellers 1-1-27. Receiving — Sellers 3-100, Miller 5-58.