Dec. 1, 2007
No Harlon Hill, No Problem; Omon Rushes Past CSC
CHADRON, Neb.-Northwest running back Xavier Omon ran for a school record 309 yards and scored three touchdowns against the RMAC's top run defense and lifted the Bearcats to a 26-13 win against Chadron State Saturday at Elliott Field. The win sends Northwest into the semifinals where a rematch with Grand Valley State awaits.
The Bearcat defense forced five turnovers and held 2006 Harlon Hill Award winner Danny Woodhead to 91 yards and no touchdowns. He ends his four-year career two points shy of former Pittsburg State running back Germaine Race's Division II record for career points scored.
Omon had 204 yards and two scores in the first half. He took the second play of the game 34 yards untouched for a score. His 4-yard touchdown with 45 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Bearcats a 16-0 lead.
Woodhead, who had 16 yards on 16 carries in last year's game against Northwest, had 10 yards on 10 carries in the first half of this year's contest. His longest run was a 50-yard dart up the middle in the third quarter, but the drive was ended by a Ryan Jones interception.
Woodhead lost two fumbles in the game and the Bearcats intercepted three passes. Jones, Ike Urum-Eke and Matt Robertson each recorded their first interceptions of the season.
The Bearcats scored the game's first 19 points and took a 19-7 lead into halftime. The teams exchanged punts to begin the second half. Michael Stadler had a 50-yard boot that helped pin the Eagles back to the 2-yard line. Chadron State went three-and-out and punted to the Eagles' 35.
The Bearcats moved the ball to the 26, and on fourth-and-one, quarterback Joel Osborn under threw a wide open Josh Gannan in the end zone. Woodhead's 50-yard run came on the next play.
Jones got the Bearcats the ball back on the interception and Osborn fired back with a 13-play, 93-yard drive capped by a 1-yard run by Omon. Osborn was 4-for-4 on the drive with third-and-long completions to Gannan and Abe Qaoud. He hit Qaoud later in the drive for 10 yards to the Chadron 15. Three plays later Omon was in the end zone to make it 26-7.
Osborn was 19-of-32 in the contest for 201 yards. His longest completion was a 36-yard lob over the defense to Mike Peterson on the first play of the game.
Qaoud and Kendall Wright each had five catches each. Qaoud had a team-high 53 yards receiving.
Osborn's counterpart, Joe McLain, was 31-of-66 for 289 yards and two scores for Chadron. He connected twice with Joel Schommer for touchdowns. The second was a 25-yard strike with 1:56 remaining in the game.
Chadron recovered the onside the kick that followed and marched to the Bearcats' 4-yard line with 44 seconds left, but McLain's fourth down pass bounced off the hands of Woodhead and Northwest took over on downs.
In addition to setting the school's all-time rushing mark for a game, Omon broke Northwest's single-season record. He now has 1,982 yards this year, topping the 1,829 yards gained by Jesse Haynes in 1996.
Omon scored his 93rd career touchdown and scored his 560th career point, moving ahead of Emporia's Brian Shay for second-place on the MIAA's all-time list.
Northwest Game Notes
-Xavier Omon rushed for a school-record 309 yards on 37 carries, surpassing the previous mark of 290 yards set by Claude Arnick Nov. 16, 1974 against Missouri-Rolla.
-Northwest recorded its fifth safety of the season, tying an MIAA team record
-With his first touchdown, Xavier Omon surpassed Brian Shay for second-place on the MIAA's all-time scoring list.
-Xavier Omon recorded his 10th-career 100-yard rushing performance in the postseason (13 games)
-Omon surpassed 1,500 career rushing yards in the postseason
-Northwest has outscored its opponents 157-37 in the first quarter this season.
-LaRon Council played and carried for the first time since Missouri Western (second game of the season)
-Northwest's three defensive interceptions ties a season high.
-Matt Robertson, Ike Urum-Eke and Ryan Jones each earned their first interceptions of the season. Urum-Eke and Jones earned their first career interceptions.
Northwest head coach Mel Tjeerdsma Post-Game Quotes
On the play of Xavier Omon…
"It got to me in the fourth quarter the effort that kid put on the field today. I mean it was amazing, it was just absolutely amazing. I don't think any of you (members of the media) can appreciate how far he's come. I'm really proud of him. Not for 300 yards. I'm proud of him for being the man that he is and the way he handles himself and what he does for our football team - that's important."
On stopping Chadron's offense…
"It was huge, we got great push again from our defensive line. We talked about that last year against Chadron and how we got such good push up field and we were able to do a lot of that again today and I thought that was really important.
"I was really pleased with how we played and I thought Coach Bostwick and our defensive staff did a good job of changing things up. Late in the ball game we really came with heat, a lot, and I thought that was an answer. Make him (McLain) throw it quick, don't let him buy time back there, especially with the conditions of the field and everything else. I thought that was the difference of the ball game late in the game"
On how effective the defense was…
"Our defense is playing really well. The best thing about our defense is we're getting better every week. Hopefully we can get Brandon Clayton back next week. If we can keep everybody healthy and our depth on the defensive line is really starting to come around and Coach Bostwick does a great job of mixing in a four-man front and a three-man front and get a little more rest for Terry (Bilbro) and TJ (Kaatman) in there. Our defense is playing where we want them to play right now."
On how to forget about the past against Grand Valley State…
"It's this year, that's all that counts. It's this year's team against this year's team. And whatever happened before, you can talk about that all you want, but that doesn't affect this game. Just like last year's game against Chadron didn't affect this game. This is 2007 and our seniors, we got it down to four now and our next goal is to get it to two."
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