Bobcats stifle Trojans en route to shut out victory

Patrick Strohecker
York Dispatch
  • Northeastern shut out York Suburban, 35-0, in its home opener.
  • The Bobcats led 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and 28-0 heading into halftime.
  • Four different Bobcats scored touchdowns, with Frank Brown scoring twice on the ground.

Back in the preseason, Northeastern High School football coach Jon Scepanski knew he didn't want to rely on his sophomore quarterback, Zech Sanderson, to have to win his team games.

With an arsenal of weapons that were on display on Friday night, Sept. 8, against York Suburban, it doesn't look likely that Sanderson will need to worry about playing hero anytime soon.

Thanks to a balanced attack on offense and a stifling defense, the Bobcats improved to 2-0 on the year with a 35-0 win in their home opener against the Trojans. Suburban fell to 0-2 on the young season.

"This week of practice was real tough," Scepanski said. "We were inside on Tuesday because of the weather and then Wednesday it was a muddy practice down on our grass field. So, it was a little iffy coming into this week, but (I'm) very happy of the whole team's performance this week, offensively and defensively."

It didn't take long for his team to settle into a rhythm on both sides of the ball. It took all of two minutes for Northeastern to open the game's scoring, capped by a Frank Brown 13-yard run. 

With a lead right out of the gates, the defense did its job, forcing a quick three-and-out on Suburban's first possession to give the offense the ball for a second time. Much like the first possession, the Bobcats moved the ball down the field with ease, resulting in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Sanderson to Fred Mulbah to make it 14-0. 

Another quick stop and ensuing score made it 21-0 Bobcats before the first quarter even ended.

"We came out and had a couple new things that we wanted to run this week," Scepanski said. "We executed them well, both through the air and on the ground, and that all goes to the kids."

Trailing big before they even knew what really hit them, the Trojans didn't pick up a first down until early in the second quarter. But, even that minor milestone wouldn't amount to much, as the Northeastern defense routinely bent, but never broke.

Anytime Suburban began moving the ball in the second quarter and looked like it was going to cut into the Bobcats' lead, the Northeastern defense would come up with a timely stop to get off the field with no damage done.

A fumble deep in Bobcats' territory and a turnover on downs led to the Trojans missing a pair of scoring opportunities and kept momentum on the side of the home team.

Then, late in the second quarter, Brown struck for his second touchdown of the night, this time scampering in from four yards out to put Northeastern ahead 28-0 heading into halftime.

"I just get energy as the game goes on," Brown said. "When some people get tired, I just keep rolling."

When the two sides came out to start the second half, the only question still up in the air was whether or not the Bobcats would get up by at least 35 points to earn a running clock.

Friday night football action as Northeastern High School hosts York Suburban on Sept. 8, 2017. Kelley Dentry photography

That was quickly answered when Suburban fumbled on its first possession of the third quarter, giving Northeastern a short field. A key fourth-and-long conversion kept the Bobcats' drive alive and was later finished with a four-yard Taemar Willis touchdown run to go up 35-0.

With the win in hand, all that was left for Northeastern was to complete the shutout, which it did with a couple more stops down the stretch.

As a team, the Bobcats' defense held the Trojans to just 17 rushing yards, 127 passing yards and five first downs, while forcing three turnovers.

On the flip side, Northeastern showcased its depth, with Brown rushing for 139 yards, while Wyatt Hughes chipped in with 85 yards on just three carries, courtesy of a 74-yard burst.

Willis was also big in both the running and passing games, accounting for 88 total yards of offense on nine touches.

Suburban will look to earn its first win of the year next Friday when it goes home for its home opener against Columbia.

As for the Bobcats, they'll stay at home in Week 3 and welcome Solanco, where they'll play their final non-league game before preparing for the rigors of York-Adams League Division I play.

"We want to see what we can do as a team," Willis said about using the first three games as a measuring stick. "We want to see our identity. We lost like 26 seniors, so, this year, everybody is doubting us, thinking we're not going to be anything, so coming out of these three games, we're going to see what we're made of."

Northeastern's Taemar Willis brings in a catch along the sidelines during Friday night football action against York Suburban on Sept. 8. Willis would finish the night with 88 yards of offense and a touchdown in the Bobcats' 35-0 win over the Trojans. Northeastern will look to move to 3-0 on the season against Solanco on Friday, Sept. 15. For game capsules involving all of the York-Adams football teams, turn to page B5. Kelley Dentry photography



York Suburban_0_0_0_0_—_0



First Quarter:

Ne - Brown 13-yard run (Torres kick), 10:00

Ne - Mulbah 10-yard catch (Torres kick), 4:46

Ne - Hughes 5-yard run (Torres kick), :24

Second Quarter: 

Ne - Brown 4-yard run (Torres kick), 3:09

Third Quarter: 

Ne - Willis 4-yard run (Torres kick), 6:39

Fourth Quarter:

No scoring


First Downs: YS, 5. Ne, 22

Rushes-Yards: YS, 19-17. Ne, 43-303

Passing Yards: YS, 127. Ne, 112

Comp-Attempts-INTs: YS, 9-22-1. Ne, 10-15-0

Penalties-Yards: YS, 5-52. Ne, 7-45

Punts-Average: YS, 3-32.7 Ne, 2-33.5

Fumbles-Lost: YS, 4-2. Ne, 3-2

Individual Passing: YS, Reinecker, 9-20-127, 0 TD. Valdez 0-2-0, 0 TD. Ne, Sanderson, 10-15-112, 1 TD.

Individual Rushing: YS, Harrison 9-38. Wright 3-3. Dent 1-1. Banks 3-(-)4. Moye 1-(-)4. Reinecker 2-(-)17. Ne, Brown 18-139. Hughes 3-85. Hayes 5-34. Willis 5-24. Williams 2-15. Sanderson 5-11. Lagana 1-1. Chatman 1-0. Kemper 3-(-)6.  

Individual Receiving: YS, Batty 4-78. Hoover 1-20. Wright 1-8. Harrison 1-5. Fleet 1-3. Banks 1-3. Ne, Willis 4-64. Brown 2-28. Mulbah 3-20. Lagana 1-0.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at