After a competitive first half, closer than the pundits believed it would be, No. 20 La Salle (Cincinnati) rolled right by Northwest (McDermott, Ohio), 56-19.
Most people outside the Northwest locker room thought La Salle would chew the Knights up in a battle of unbeaten teams Friday night at Northwest. And, eventually the Lancers did, but Northwest played energized and unintimidated in the first half.
La Salle used its size and offensive efficiency to distance itself from the Knights midway through the third quarter. La Salle led 28-19 at halftime, but Northwest was held scoreless after intermission.
La Salle junior running back Christian Turner ran wild with 162 rush yards and three touchdowns.
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“It’s just fun, when you see a big hole open up like that you just want to hit it and score,” said Turner. “I give all the credit to my offensive line, without them I wouldn’t have been able to do anything out here.”
With the win, La Salle improves to 5-0, and including last year’s postseason, the Lancers have won 13 games in a row with a trip to Moeller on the horizon in week six.
Northwest, ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer Division III area coaches’ poll, couldn’t keep pace with La Salle’s high-powered offense. The Knights looked strong at the onset, with an 80-yard scoring drive. Devonte Faulkner’s 7-yard touchdown run was setup by a 60-yard pass from Brandon Shelton to Greg Jackson.
Shelton was 8 of 10 passing for 119 yards and touchdown in the first half, but La Salle’s defense adjusted at the half and Northwest didn’t have an answer.
“I thought our offense was hitting on all cylinders,” said La Salle coach Jim Hilvert. “I think they stooped us on one series. Defensively, we did not play well the first half. We finally settled down and did some good things in the second half and shut them out.”
La Salle was quick to respond in the first quarter. On its first offensive play, senior quarterback Nick Watson caught Josh Gebing in stride, but a holding call negated what would have been a long touchdown pass. The Lancers came right back, and followed the penalty with a seamless drive that culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by junior Jarell White.
“When you get the ball to our offense it makes things a lot easier,” Hilvert said. “We’ve gotta get the ball to our offense. We’ve gotta learn to get our defense off the field and we did that the second half.”
Senior Jeremy Larkin, committed to Cincinnati, didn’t have to do too much, but he did rack up 124 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
In 2014, La Salle won 34-9 over Moeller, who’s coming off a 14-10 loss to St. Xavier in week five.
“You can’t play two quarters against a team like Moeller, you’ve gotta play four quarters,” said Hilvert. “The scary thing about our team is all three phases have not played four quarters of football. I think if we can put that together you have an opportunity to beat a team like Moeller. Obviously in the GCL you better bring it. Playing on the road is gonna be tough and we’ve gotta be ready to play.”