Northwest Christian overcame a slow start to blow out Tempe Prep 28-0 on Friday.
Despite the offense sputtering early, the defense was there all night for the Crusaders (3-0). The Knights (0-3) were limited to just eight first downs and 116 yards of offense for the game. Northwest Christian also forced two turnovers and blocked a field goal late in the game to keep the shutout intact.
“We pride ourselves on what we do on the defensive side of the ball,” Crusaders coach Dave Inness said. “We’ve allowed less than 10 points per game three years in a row. That’s our goal every year. There will be some nights where it isn’t rocking, but if you watch our run defense, we are pretty good.”
Tempe Prep coach Thomas Brittain agreed with the assessment of Northwest Christian’s run defense. “They limited our running game so effectively. When we don’t have an efficient running game, we are not going to be good offensively. Tonight we couldn’t establish anything in the running game.”
The strong game by the defense allowed Northwest Christian to survive on the night on a night where the offense was far from playing up to their normal standards. The Crusaders went three and out on their first two drives and did not record a first down until less than two minutes remained in the first quarter. They did not score until the 4:30 mark of the second quarter.
“We did not start off too well,” receiver Matt Delos said. “They were pretty physical and I don’t think we were prepared for that. We came out and made some adjustments and were more physical and got the job done.”
Delos led Northwest Christian with seven catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. He also added two more touchdowns on the ground. Quarterback Drew Innes completed 15 of 24 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown, and also added a rushing touchdown.
The Crusaders were able to make adjustments at halftime, however, and were able to play much better in the second half.
“Tempe Prep has a great run defense,” Inness said. “Always have been, always will be. We weren’t getting our steps on the zone plays. The touchdown before half calmed us down and we just played better in the second half. For some reason, since we’ve been here, in the second half we settle down and play.”
The Knights were shut out for the third time in three games this season. They have yet to score a point all year.
“A tough way to start the season,” Brittain said. “We had those three freedom games. We wanted to schedule tough teams to prepare a great junior class for a playoff run, and I think ultimately it will make our team a lot better. But we’re demoralized. We haven’t scored a touchdown. We haven’t scored a point yet. We’ve played three outstanding teams. We survived and we’ll get better, but right now it just hurts.”
Northwest Christian 28, Tempe Prep 0
First Downs: Northwest Christian 23, Tempe Prep 8
Rushing: Northwest Christian 39-116, Tempe Prep 28-69
Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yards-TD-INT): Northwest Christian 15-24-167-1-0, Tempe Prep 5-11-47-0-1
Fumbles-Lost: Northwest Christian 1-0, Tempe Prep 1-1
Penalties-yards: Northwest Christian 8-60 , Tempe Prep 11-110
Northwest Christian 0 14 7 7 -- 28
Tempe Prep 0 0 0 0 – 0
Northwest Christian: Delos 4 run (Templo kick)
Northwest Christian: Delos 20 pass from Innes (Templo kick)
Northwest Christian: Delos 5 run (Pearson kick)
Northwest Christian: Innes 12 run (Pearson kick)