CLAYTON – Clayton Northmont head coach Lance Schneider said the decision was completely up to junior C.J. Taylor.
“That’s his call,” Schneider said. “We tell him if he gets up there and the other team is overloaded on one side to make a call for that. When he did I thought well we’ll get some yards out of it, but he took it 40 yards for us. It was fourth and forever.”
Facing fourth and 30 on the Dayton Chaminade-Julienne 45-yardline with less than eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter Thursday, Taylor called his own number and took a fake punt 40 yards. On the next snap junior Kevin Ringer went the rest of the way to give the host T-Bolts the insurance they needed in a 25-12 win over C-J on a scorching opening night at Northmont Stadium.
“When I got up there, there were only two guys on the left side and six or seven on the right,” Taylor said. “I just made the call and ran left. I was happy to do it.”
Said C-J coach Andy Helms: “That fake punt was critical.”
Taylor’s run and Ringer’s finish came with 7:11 left to go and Northmont holding on to a 19-6 lead.
The T-Bolts had held the upper hand for most of the night with junior Chase Belton – the younger brother of Miami QB and last season’s starter Clay Belton – under center. The younger Belton faired well in his first varsity start, completing 8-of-14 passes for 55 yards. His nine-yard TD pass to senior Nate Wilborn-Ogletree gave Northmont a 13-0 lead with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
Senior John Nussman replaced Belton in the fourth. Schneider said expect to see both this year.
“We planned to use both tonight, but Chase was hot in the first half,” Schneider said. “It’s hard to take a kid out who puts 19 points on the board for you in the first half. John will play his share. Most coaches don’t really like playing two quarterbacks and we’ve never really done that here, but both bring different skill sets to the huddle.”
The same can be said for Northmont’s running backs.
Juniors Kevin Ringer and Mark Mays and sophomore Korey Ringer gave the T-Bolts multiple options. Kevin Ringer rushed for 77 yards and two TDs on 22 carries, while Korey Ringer toted the rock 14 times for 73 yards. Mays touched the ball five times and tallied 70 yards and a TD. Both Ringers, who are brothers, are the nephews of Michigan State and former C-J standout Javon Ringer.
“On offense we have a lot of weapons,” Schneider said. “We’ve got a lot of people to get the ball too and we’ve got a great offensive line which is key. And our line is athletic. It’s not like we’re just lining up and slugging it out. Our guys can move. They are big and athletic, which is good for us.”
Seniors Zebrie Sanders (ranked No. 11 in Ohio High’s Top 100 Senior Prospects) and Matt Prichard anchor the front five.
In all, Northmont outgained C-J 344-219 in total yards.
The Eagles played solid in the second half after mounting just one scoring drive in the first.
Held to no first downs and 22 total yards on its first four possessions, C-J turned its fifth and final drive of the first half into six points when junior QB Kurt Hess hit senior Zack Kauth for a 10-yard TD. Hess, who finished 19-of-35 for 182 yards, hit senior Joe Szabo for his second TD with 1:40 left. Kauth finished with eight catches for 69 yards.
The Eagles struggled to establish a run game.
“We couldn’t sustain drives,” Helms said. “A drop here a penalty there. I thought we moved the ball good at times but we didn’t sustain.”