With two touchdowns scored in the first 39 seconds, it was readily apparent that the battle for the District 3-5A championship between Justin Northwest and Fort Worth North Side would be an offensive showcase.
And despite cold and blustery conditions Thursday night at Northwest ISD Stadium, it seemed almost a game of pitch and catch as the Texans built a commanding 48-12 lead by halftime, then cruised to a convincing 62-18 win over the Steers. Both teams are now looking at the playoffs, which begin next week.
Senior Northwest quarterback Austin Ahmah was doing the pitching, and a plethora of wide receivers, big and small, were doing the catching. In the first half alone, Ahmad hit Zavion Taylor for two scores of 23 and 10 yards and one to Cooper McDonald from 12 yards out.
Complementing the passing game was the determined running of Kyndel Sims, who scored three TDs in the first half on runs of 15, 4 and 6 yards and amassed 129 yards on 17 carries by intermission.
North Side scored on the first play of the game when junior QB Isaak Rosales hit his favorite target, Da’wain Lofton, on a 63-yard bomb that took all of 10 seconds. The Steers missed the extra kick, and then Northwest answered in just two plays when Ahmad connected for 42 yards to wideout Ozzie Henry, and then Sims sprinted around left end for the end zone.
Suddenly the game was tied with only 39 seconds expired. Texans kicker Jacob Kirk kicked his first of six extra points in the opening half to give Northwest a lead that was never surrendered.
Even the linemen got into the scoring act in the explosive first half with Northwest’s Zane Brewster picking up a blocked punt and racing untouched 45 yards for a touchdown.
The second half was significantly more subdued, as both teams substituted in preparation for the playoffs. Northwest scored twice on a 5-yard run by Antwon Tatum-Garner, who gained 124 yards in a backup role and on a 17-yard pass from quarterback Brandon Etchieson to Gavin Lane. North Side added six points on another bomb from Rosales, this time 53 yards to Johnny Perez.
With the win, Northwest wins district with an unblemished mark in league play for the second straight year.