High School Football: Northeastern’s Buchholtz earns first victory

Sept 12, 2018
Northeastern’s Frederick Michael Burns is tripped up by Northwestern’s Gavin Thomas after catching a pass during Friday’s game. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

An epic fourth quarter comeback gave Northeastern High School football coach Jake Buchholtz his first coaching victory.

The Jets (1-2) trailed 16-9 after the third quarter against Madison Plains on Friday night. Northeastern scored 14 points in the final 12 minutes to earn their first victory of the season.

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“It was a wild night,” Buchholtz said. “The kids really responded in the fourth quarter, which is something I haven’t seen in the last few years.”

Madison Plains nearly punched in another touchdown at the end of the third quarter, but the Jets’ Max Queen intercepted the ball.

On the ensuing possession, the Jets scored on a 55-yard pass from Mac Davis to Queen to tie the game. On the Eagles next play from scrimmage, Northeastern’s Jake Nichols intercepted the ball and ran to the 2-yard line, which led to a Davis score to win the game.

Davis passed for 118 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns. The senior has been playing through an injury after tearing a ligament in his thumb. Queen had three catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, as well as two interceptions.

The Jets nearly beat Worthington Christian in Week 1, falling 20-14.

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“It’s nice to get the monkey off your back,” Buchholtz said. “It shows the kids that all the your hard work you put in in the offseason, all summer and the beginning part of the season pays off. It’s nice to get the first win, but we’re definitely not content.”

The Jets travel to South Charleston to face rival Southeastern (0-3) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Trojans fell to Mechanicsburg 44-0 in Week 3, but the game was scoreless at halftime.

“They’re a good ball club that’s in a similar scenario, trying to get that right fit,” Buchholtz said.

While the two clubs are no longer in the same division since the OHC expanded last season, the game is still huge for both programs.

“So many of our kids and their kids grow up in similar cultures and they run around together,” Buchholtz said. “It’s definitely a rivalry, but there are a lot of friendships between the teams. They teams know each other very well. We know they’re going to be well-coached. It will be a good test for us.”

Dude alert: West Liberty-Salem quarterback Trevor Woodruff is off to a hot start this season, leading the Ohio Heritage Conference with 609 passing yards and a 186.1 passer rating.

He’s completed 76.7 percent of his passes (46-for-60) with five touchdowns and one interception for the unbeaten Tigers (3-0). He’s averaging 203 yards passing per game.

Woodruff is also spreading the wealth. The Tigers have four receivers with six or more receptions this season, including Jace Wade (13 catches, 98 yards), Nick Burden (10-116), Holden Nease (7-100) and Ethan Larson (6-134).

Still unbeaten: Northwestern is 3-0 for the first time since 2013. If the Warriors want to go 4-0, they’ll have to beat Division II neighbor Tecumseh.

The Arrows and the Warriors hadn’t played in more than a decade until 2016. The Arrows have won the last two meetings. Tecumseh beat Northwestern 27-14 a year ago and 35-7 in 2016.

Decision day: Springfield lineman Isaiah Gibson is expected to announce his college commitment on Sept. 19. He recently released a final three of Kentucky, Purdue and Wisconsin.