Blue Lions lose opener to Northridge, 14-7

The Blue Lions opened the 2015 season with a home game against the Vikings of Johnstown Northridge High School Friday night.

On a beautiful evening, with a full moon rising over Gardner Park, the Blue Lions honored their 18 football seniors, as well as band, and cheer seniors in pre-game ceremonies.

Washington scored late in the first half to take a 7-0 lead.

However, the Vikings scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull out the come-from-behind win, 14-7.

“Our defense played very well,” Washington head coach Corey Dye said. “But, they were on the field way too long.

“Offensively, it seemed like we could never get anything going,” Dye said. “We had one or two nice series. When your defense only gives up 14 points, you have to put points on the board. Unfortunately, we were only able to punch one in.

“We made a few adjustments at halftime,” Dye said. “Hats off to Northridge. Their new coach (Shawn Hinkle) did a nice job. His players played hard.

“It’s tough to start off the season this way,” Dye said. “But, I told the kids, we can’t let one game define our season. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a real good Circleville team next week.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Washington drove down and scored on a three-yard run by Aaron Greer. Wendy Hawk’s extra-point kick made it 7-0 with 1:56 to play in the first half.

After a scoreless third quarter, Northridge’s Logan Garee appeared stopped, but emerged from a mass of players to score from 20 yards out.

The Blue Lions caught a big break when the snap for the extra point was just a little too high for the holder to handle, resulting in no kick and leaving the Blue Lions with a 7-6 lead. That score came with 8:13 to play in the game.

Washington had the ball and was hoping to convert at least a couple of first downs.

Northridge held, however and took the ball for one more score, a 32-yard run by Daniel Hatfield with 1:59 to play. Hatfield passed to Gunner Absten for the two-point conversion for what would prove to be the final, 14-7.

Taking a look at some of the statistics from Friday night, Northridge had 338 yards of total offense, with 20 carries for 227 yards. The Vikings’ two quarterbacks, Hatfield and Alex Webb, combined for 9-19 passing for 111 yards.

The Blue Lions accumulated a total of 176 yards of offense, 60 through the air on 6-15 passing by C.J. Taylor.

Washington had 116 yards rushing on 35 carries.

Greer led the Blue Lions with 49 yards on 12 carries.

Kyle Garrett carried seven times for 36 yards and Timmy Robinson had eight carries for 30 yards.

Mason McCane had two receptions for 35 yards. Kory Proby had two catches for 12 yards; Robinson caught one pass for nine yards and Caden Cluxton had one reception for four yards.

Northridge had 15 first downs to 11 for the Blue Lions.

The Vikings were penalized seven times for 45 yards, while the Blue Lions were flagged six times for 45 yards.

McCane led the Blue Lions in tackles with 11.5. Garrett and Proby each had seven tackles; Caleb Rice had six tackles and Trevor Hicks had six tackles.

The Blue Lions will travel to Circleville next week to take on the Tigers.

Circleville defeated Miami Trace last night, 41-21.

Elsewhere around the SCOL, Western Brown defeated Hillsboro, 40-0; Clinton-Massie crushed Blanchester, 51-7; Johnstown Monroe beat Chillicothe, 14-10; Adena beat McClain, 41-34, Wilmington upended Little Miami, 48-26 and East Clinton defeated Batavia, 25-19.

Eric Barden (1) returns the opening kickoff for the Blue Lions in a game against Johnstown Northridge Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 at Gardner Park. Also pictured is fellow senior Caden Cluxton (2). Barden (1) returns the opening kickoff for the Blue Lions in a game against Johnstown Northridge Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 at Gardner Park. Also pictured is fellow senior Caden Cluxton (2).

By Chris Hoppes

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Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1