By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Junior quarterback Trevor Wilmore engineered four scoring drives in the opening half for the Concord Minutemen in a 35-8 win over the Northridge Raiders in a Class 4A, Sectional 11 high school football semifinal Friday night at Concord.
“The chance to play in November for a championship is what we wanted,” Concord coach Tim Dawson said. “This was a game the players knew they should win. That doesn’t mean you always do. I told the kids that championship teams win games like this.”
Concord (9-2) will host Wawasee (7-4) next Friday in the sectional championship. The Wawasee Warriors were a 31-28 winner over NorthWood.
“Wawasee has improved a lot since we played them,” Dawson said. “It’s hard to be a team twice in the same season, but this team is pretty hungry.
“There are only 16 teams left and we are one of them.”
Concord was a 54-7 winner over Wawasee back on Sept. 7. Since then the Warriors have won five of seven.
Wilmore scored Concord’s first two touchdowns on runs of 11 and 43 yards to give the Minutemen a 14-0 lead by 2:54 of the first quarter. On the second TD, Wilmore was facing a 2nd-and-15. He faded back to pass, eluded the Northridge rush and scampered down the far sidelines.
“He extends plays. That’s why he is in there,” Dawson said. “He broke containment on the play and found the end zone.”
Wilmore only played the opening half. He rushed for 81 yards on five carries and completed 4-of-6 passes for 47 yards.
Senior tailback DuWhan Alford ran for 75 yards on six carries, also not playing beyond the first half.
“We are trying the run the ball with the two of them,” Dawson said.
Alford had a 39-yard scoring run at 7:48 of the second stanza.
Senior Franko House was the leading Concord receiver with four catches for 24 yards. Junior Chris Martin had one catch that he turned into a 23-yard TD with 5:15 left in the second period.
The Minutemen defeated Northridge 56-28 during the regular season on Oct. 5.
“Northridge played hard tonight like they always do,” Dawson said. “In the first game we didn’t punt once. Tonight they forced us to punt on our first possession.”
Concord had a different defensive game plan for the Raiders on Friday. The Minutemen put a lot of pressure on Northridge’s junior quarterback Tanner Love.
“Love is a great quarterback,” Dawson said. “We wanted to put plenty of pressure on him.”
Junior defensive tackle Michael McQueen was one of the players Dawson cited for his play.
“Michael had a great game,” Dawson said.
The pressure by Concord’s pass rush helped the secondary intercept three passes. The first one was by sophomore Kevin Moreno and he returned the ball 85 yards for a TD at 10:51 of the second quarter. Sophomores Brandon Thomas and Kyle Moreno also had picks.
Kevin and Kyle Moreno are twins, but their picks had near opposite results. Kevin returned his for six points while Kyle’s was in the end zone and he was tackled by a Raider for a safety.
“Poor Kyle,” Dawson said. “We reminded him after the play that if you pick the ball in the end zone you down.
“Both Kevin and Kyle are good players and they have a brother, Matt, who is a freshman and he will be a good one for us.”
Northridge had a some success running the ball as sophomore Travis Schlabach gained 67 yards on 10 carries and classmate Cameron Ridenour 42 on 11.
Ridenour tallied the Raider TD on a 9-yard run with 3:20 left to play.
Schlabach also snared three passes for 27 yards.