Northport faces Cusick in critical Northeast 1B clash

In its nearly two years as a resurrected high school football program, Northport High hasn’t faced a game with nearly the implications of Friday night’s Northeast 1B North clash at Cusick. Game time is 7 p.m. Northport (3-1, 5-3) took care of business last Friday, blasting overmatched Republic 58-16 and making Homecoming faithful happy. While the Mustangs were taking care of business, Cusick (3-1, 5-3), struggling with injuries to key players, was upset 24-20 by Wilbur-Creston (1-2, 3-5). It was the Wildcats’ first win in the Northeast 1B South division. Northport has already secured its first post-season berth. But an upset win over the wounded Panthers could make that foray into the State eight-man playoffs a whole lot easier. Second seed vs. likely fifth seed “This one is for second place and a pretty good seed,” NHS head coach Don Fox said on Sunday. A win at Cusick would likely give Northport a first-round game against second place NE 1B South member, Odessa-Harrington (2-0, 5-2). A loss to Cusick would likely mean a much less enviable fifth seeded first round date at Southeast 1B no. 1 Touchet (5-0, 7-0). Colton and Pomeroy are both 3-1 and tied for second place in the Southeast with one regular season game remaining. “I really think Cusick is beatable,” Fox said. “They aren’t as big as they have been and they’ve had some injuries. I’ll be surprised if we don’t compete over there. “But Cusick is going to play hard. There is a lot on the line for them too. And Cusick is still a team with very good quickness. That will be tough on us. “This is a game where we could really help ourselves out (for the playoff run). We didn’t rise to the occasion when we played Wellpinit, but Cusick is probably saying the same thing about their loss last Friday. They are coming off a game they shouldn’t have lost.” REPUBLIC RECAP Northport took Republic (2-5) out early last Friday night. The Mustangs led 20-0 in the first quarter and 42-16 at halftime. The hosts scored the game’s first five touchdowns. “Republic is very young,” Fox said of a Republic program in the throes of rebuilding. “The game gave us an opportunity to play a lot of kids…we were even able to use some eighth-graders. I thought our youngsters held their own pretty well in the second quarter.” Northport worked hard during the week getting its passing game back in gear. It showed against Republic. NHS quarterback Jeremiah Johnson was eight of 12 through the air for 252 yards and four touchdowns. Senior tailback David Higgins added 146 yards rushing and 85 more on two pass receptions. Northport rushed for 304 yards and ran up 556 yards of total offense against the Tigers. First play TD Northport got off to a quick start when Higgins took the handoff from Johnson on a dive play and ran 65 yards for a touchdown. “That set the tone,” Fox said. “We moved the ball well and our defense, in the first quarter and first part of the second quarter, didn’t let Republic have much.” The Mustangs scored on their first five possessions. ELSEWHERE In Wilbur-Creston’s upset win over Cusick, Davey Ogle scored on a three-yard run late in the fourth quarter to help the Wildcats post an important road win. Hayden Herdrick and Ogle both finished with two rushing touchdowns apiece. Columbia-Inchelium exorcized a few offensive demons last Friday afternoon at Hunters, overpowering Curlew (1-6, 0-5) 72-34. Marvin Reyes ran for a career-high 262 yards on only 10 carries to lead the Timberwolves (3-5, 2-2). C-I rushed for 600 yards. Columbia-Inchelium (3-5, 2-2) led 52-28 at halftime. Curlew quarterback Jamie Zerck threw for three touchdowns. In other games involving Northeast 1B teams, second-ranked Almira/Coulee-Hartline (8-0, 2-0) scored 28 first quarter points and went easy on winless Mansfield (0-6, 0-3), 41-0 last Friday. Northeast 1B North leader Wellpinit (7-1, 4-0) overran Selkirk (2-6, 1-4) 54-14 at Ione. A.J. Kieffer ran for 204 yards and scored five touchdowns for fourth-ranked Wellpinit, whose only loss to date has been to ACH. Northport 58, Republic 16 RHS 0 16 0-- 16 NHS 20 22 16—58 NHS—Higgins 65 yd. run (run failed) NHS—Higgins 35 pass from Johnson (Higgins run) NHS—Higgins 58 yd. run (run failed) NHS—Viser-Rios 15 yd. run (Viser-Rios run) NHS—Konkler 52 yd. pass from Johnson (Higgins kick) RHS—Leonard 7 yd. run (run good) NHS—J. Short 37 yd. run (Higgins run) RHS—Baumbach 30 pass from Bertrang (run good) NHS—Konkler 50 yd. pass from Johnson (Higgins kick) NHS—Higgins 37 yd. field goal NHS—B. Short 36 yd. pass from Johnson