Wildcat football team takes homecoming win

Trevor Drew

Over the weekend, fans, students and alumni gathered at the Superior Dome in celebration of homecoming, and watched the Wildcats Football squad defeat the Northwood University Timberwolves 29-24.

re-homecomingfootball5-ss“It feels like we deserve it, there’s no question. It was a great win for us,” head coach Chris Ostrowsky said reflecting on the game.

Their conference record now 2-1, Ostrowsky said he was glad to see the Wildcats start the game with intensity since the last few games he felt they started slow and performed at their best in the second half. Ostrowsky said that a fast start was critical to their victory.

“We worked on it all week long. We talked about it in regards to understanding the importance of starting fast,” Ostrowsky said. “We knew we needed to change that trend, not just talk about it but create some things where they were really comfortable with play selection.”

Northern Michigan started hot out of the gates and found success on their first possession of the opening quarter. After five plays, a 33-yard pass from senior quarterback Shaye Brown found senior wide-receiver Paris Woods, scoring the game’s first touchdown and taking the early lead for Northern. Senior kicker Tyler Blackburn missed the field goal attempt leaving NMU’s score at 6.

Looking to even up the scoreboard, the Timberwolves offense pushed Northern all the way back to their 18-yard line. However, a forced fumble and recovery from sophomore defensive lineman Austin McCarthy would alleviate the pressure and give possession back to the ’Cats.

The Wildcats made their way into Northwood territory, and at the 24-yard line, Brown launched one to Woods in the end zone, giving them their second touchdown. A successful field goal from Blackburn granted Northern the extra point, bringing the score to 13-0.

With 9:05 left in the first half, the Timberwolves finally breached the NMU end zone earning their first touchdown of the game. The ’Cats answered back with a touchdown in the last minute of the first half, bringing the score to 20-7.

Ostrowsky said that the reason Brown and Woods are so productive in the offense is because they have worked with each other for the past two years and have developed tight chemistry.

The duo’s success, according to Woods, comes from repetition.

“It’s the same thing we do in practice everyday,” Woods added.

Northwood claimed their first lead with 4:26 left in the final quarter after scoring rushing touchdowns on back-to-back drives bringing their score to 24. Down by a single point, the ’Cats rushed down the field all the way to the Timberwolves 1-yard line. A touchdown rush from sophomore running back Jake Mayon reclaimed the lead for Northern. The Wildcats attempted a 2-point conversion, but Northwood’s defense prevented the play keeping themselves within scoring range.

With 4 seconds left, Northwood quarterback Joe Garbarino threw one final Hail Mary pass from the NMU 39-yard line in a last attempt to clench the victory. Timberwolf Theron Wilson was able to make the catch on the 1-yard line, but with no time left the victory went to the Wildcats.

With over 4,000 in attendance, Mayon said some of Northern’s strength was generated by the support of the fans, Woods added they were the most he had seen in his two years at Northern.
“It’s really great to have the community around you, to have the fans going crazy and just being into the game,” Mayon said. “It gives us a way better feeling. It gives us motivation.”

Next weekend, the team will host the Walsh Cavaliers at the Superior Dome for NMU Family Weekend. While the ’Cats took on Northwood, the Walsh team was shutout by the Grand Valley State Lakers 38-0. The Cavaliers are currently running on a 4-game losing streak; making their conference record 0-4.

One thing for certain, this season the NMU Football team is looking to take as many victories as they can and finish the season strong.

“We want to win games, and that’s what we are working hard for,” Mayon said. “We just want to win games.”