The Northfield football program had not won a sectional game since 1996 or hosted a sectional game since 2003. The hosting part came Friday night when the Norse hosted Fremont in first round action. Halfway in the first quarter it looked as though it could be another one of those oh no games, but the Norse shook off the early game jitters to defeat Fremont 56-20 with an offensive explosion.
To start the game the Northfield defense tried to set the tempo, stopping Fremont on three plays and forcing them to punt. Two minutes in to the game Northfield fumbled with Fremont picking it up and running 40yds for the touch down to take a 7-0 lead. On the insuing kick off the Norse fumbled the kick out of bounds and had to start from their own 6. Going nowhere they were forced to punt. The snap went wild and not panicking, Justin Parker picked it up and scrambled to the 22 for a first down. On the very next play Austin Gottschalk hit Joe Frieden on a 76yd scoring strike to tie the score. Fremont not backing down started a march down the field and connected on a scoring pass with 2:49 to play to give Fremont a 14-7 lead.
After a pass and a run from Parker took the ball to the Fremont 14, Hunter Wells blew through the line for a 14yd touch down. After missing the conversion the Norse trailed 14-13. At this point it looked as though it was going to be a back and forth game with the team who had the ball last winning. Not so. At this point the Norse started their domination with the defense holding. With 7:41 remaining Gottschalk hit Frieden for his second touch down reception. The two point conversion was good and the Norse lead 21-14. After another defensive stop the offense went to work again. Starting with good field position on the Fremont 38, Wells took it to the 23. Gottschalk then ran it to the 15, followed by Shafer taking to the 11. Out came the patended Norse lateral pass from Gottschalk to Parker who hit Frieden for his third TD reception with 1:46 to go, making it 28-14. On Fremonts second play, Austin Curless picked off a Fremont pass with 58.2 to go. With 51.7 remaining Gottschalk hit Jared Kirtlan who made a fantastic one handed catch to the 10. One play later Gottschalk took it in and the Norse lead 35-14 at the half.
To start the second half Fremont kicked off to the Norse with Parker running it back to the Fremont 11. The next play Shafer takes it in for a 42-14 lead. Again the Norse defense forced a three and out. Behind Wells and Parker the Norse moved the ball to the 9 where Gottschalk busted loose again for a touch down to take a 49-14 lead. Northfield forced a three and out again. This time the offense was lead by Curless as coach Deiner called off the dogs. Again moving the ball down the field, Curless ran it in from 8yds out to make it 56-14.
The forth quarter consisted of Northfield running the ball and the clock. Fremont managed to put a score on the board with 35.0 seconds left for the final score of 56-20.
In other county sectionals :
Southern Wells 21, Southwood 14
Bluffton 52, Wabash 35
Manchester 47, Winchester 20
Northfield travels to South Adams next Friday. Manchester goes to Ft. Wayne Bishop Luers