Photo: For the second time in as many games, D’mariun Perteet rushed for over 100 yards and netted two touchdowns in Thursday’s win at Holmes. (Kevin Pitts/nwccrangers.com)
Behind a season-high 489 yards of total offense, Northwest survived a late Holmes touchdown to come away with a crucial 36-28 North Division victory on Thursday afternoon.
Freshman tailback D’mariun Perteet racked up a season-high 145 rushing yards, as the Rangers moved to 6-2 on the season and 4-1 in division play. Holmes was penalized 14 times for 114 yards, while being eliminated from playoff contention at 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the MACCC North Division.
Northwest scored on its opening possession, marching 78 yards downfield on 10 plays. A 34-yard reception from Kyler Hutton put the Rangers inside the 10-yard line, but the Bulldogs kept Northwest out of the end zone. Jackson Uselton hit the first of his three field goals, a 19-yard attempt, putting the Rangers up 3-0.
Holmes came up empty-handed on its next possession, forcing another punt from Ryan Wood, which was returned by Fredd Adams to the Bulldogs’ 45-yard line. It took just six plays for Northwest to add to its lead, as Patterson hit JaBrysten Abram on a 20-yard touchdown pass, pushing the score to 10-0 with 4:40 to go in the first quarter.
Facing third and long on its next drive, Holmes got back-to-back 30-yard receptions from Deion Smith to help the Bulldogs into the end zone. Jalen Ballard followed with the point-after kick, trimming the deficit to 10-7.
Northwest averted disaster on the ensuing kick, as a fumble on the return from Abram was recovered by Tay Williams. The miscue set Holmes up with a short field, starting at the Rangers’ 18-yard line, but the Bulldogs settled for a field goal try from Ballard, which was missed wide right.
A 16-play, 67-yard drive carried over from the first to the second quarter, and Northwest was able to reach the red zone once again. However, the Bulldogs’ defense forced the Rangers to settle for another field goal from Uselton, which stretched the lead to 13-7.
Both teams came up empty on the next two possessions, including a missed 32-yard field goal attempt from Uselton with 1:56 left in the quarter. That’s where Holmes would pick up some momentum before halftime, as the Bulldogs went 80 yards downfield to score on a short rushing touchdown. Ballard’s point-after kick gave Holmes a 14-13 edge entering the break.
Northwest opened the second half with the ball, only for Patterson to be intercepted by Dtrevion Parker on the third play of the possession. Parker returned the pick for 28 yards the other way, setting up a 41-yard reception from John Ford to Smith, which was immediately followed by a four-yard score from Joe Moss. The touchdown allowed the Bulldogs to stretch their lead to 21-13, early in the third quarter.
With five minutes left in the third quarter, Northwest finally issued a response, as Uselton successfully converted a 29-yard field goal attempt. After forcing another Holmes punt, the Rangers’ regained a 22-21 lead on the first play of the next possession, as Perteet went 57 yards to the end zone.
Entering the fourth quarter with the slim advantage, Northwest was able to gain some breathing room with 9:27 to go, as Patterson hit K.D. Gibson for a 46-yard touchdown. The deep score helped the Rangers extend the lead to 29-21.
Holmes got across midfield on its next drive, but Moss was stopped for no gain on third down and Ford was sacked for a five-yard loss on fourth down, as the Bulldogs turned the ball over. Three plays later, the Rangers scored on Perteet’s 41-yard carry, pushing the lead to 36-21 with 5:02 left.
However, the Bulldogs weren’t finished yet. Needing a quick response, Holmes embarked on a 10-play, 59-yard drive, ending in a 13-yard touchdown catch by Smith. With the successful point-after kick, Northwest saw its lead trimmed to 36-28 with 1:11 left.
Holmes managed to recover the onside kick, setting the Bulldogs up on their own 45-yard line. Although Ford drove his team to the Rangers’ 31-yard line, three straight incomplete passes set up fourth and 10, with Rod Daniels sacking Ford to set up victory formation for the Rangers.
Northwest accounted for 291 yards through the air, as Patterson completed 21 of his 38 passes for two touchdowns. Perteet scored two times and led the Rangers in rushing yards, while Gibson and Jarnorris Hopson combined for 143 yards on nine catches.
Ford went 27-of-48 for Holmes, passing for 338 yards and two touchdowns, with Smith hauling in 13 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs were held to just 19 yards on the ground.
JyKeon Cunningham led Northwest with 10 tackles and four quarterback hurries. Quay Ragsdale and Carlando Crump accounted for nine tackles apiece, while Tristan Shorter totaled seven tackles and two tackles-for-loss.
For the Bulldogs, Jalon Townes tallied 14 tackles and a forced fumble, while Laquan Robinson and Maxton Woodward accounted for 13 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Wood punted eight times for 327 yards, including a 53-yard punt. For Northwest, Shade Foster accounted for 136 yards on three punts, with all three punts landing inside the 20-yard line.
With the win, Northwest moves to 48-20-2 all-time against Holmes, with the Rangers winning each of the last four meetings and 19 of the last 21 games, dating back to 2003.
Next up for the Rangers is an important North Division tussle with Northeast (6-2, 4-1 MACCC North) on Thursday, November 2. With both teams tied for second place in the division standings, the winner of that game will reach the MACCC Playoffs, while the loser will see their season come to an end.
Kickoff for Thursday’s game is scheduled for 7 P.M. at Bobby Franklin Field, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 P.M. on Ranger TV, Action News 5 Plus, WHCQ-LD 8 and WEBU-LD 22.