Josh Pennington appeared to be in midseason form, though he wouldn’t quite say so after the Clay football team’s 42-21 win over Northview.
One of Pennington’s teammates, however, offered a similar superlative when asked about the junior quarterback. Pennington completed 13 of 21 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns and was intercepted once in Friday’s win over Northview.
“He was on his game right now,” said senior receiver Mounib Jomaa, who had a 70-yard touchdown reception and caught a 49-yard pass from Pennington that set up Clay’s final touchdown.
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Pennington’s performance was part of a dominant first half for the Eagles, who took a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and allowed Northview just 28 yards rushing in the first 12 minutes.
“We had to stick to our assignments, and that’s what we did,” said Pennington, who also scored two touchdowns. “Our key things, when 11 guys do their thing, you’re going to have a winning team.”
Pennington and Jomaa also credited the Eagles’ conditioning on a hot, humid night. “Our conditioning coach always tells us to water up and salt up, so we don’t cramp up,” Jomaa said. “Gotta get salty.”
Pennington scored his first touchdown 3 minutes, 5 seconds into the game, and just as Northview regrouped after Pennington’s first touchdown pass — a 46-yard connection with Devin Dominique — the junior quarterback struck again, finding Jomaa (three receptions for 126 yards) for a 70-yard touchdown with 1:08 left in the first quarter.
After gaining only 75 yards (39 rushing and 36 receiving) in the first half, Northview began to make the game respectable, as Deon Valentine scored the Wildcats’ first touchdown less than five minutes into the third, on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Kremcheck (10-for-21 passing, 103 yards) to cut the lead to 35-9.
“Our kids are very young, and they’re a little inexperienced,” said Northview coach Marek Moldawsky, whose team trailed 28-3 at halftime and 35-3 early in the third. “Our front is freshmen, sophomores, a couple juniors, and a senior. I think the speed of the game might have startled them a bit. But in the second half, they got immersed in it and they got a little better.”
Still, while the Wildcats found their bearings in the second half, Clay stopped Northview twice inside the 20. Jomaa’s second touchdown with 2:46 left in the third quarter to give Clay a 42-9 lead.
“Our defense played a heck of a game, and you can’t fault them,” Pennington said. “Both sides of the ball played a great game.”
Corey Bowman scored on a 51-yard run for Northview with 1:24 left in the third, and Kremchek scored on a 3-yard run less than five minutes into the fourth.
“This is the same as any other game,” said Moldawsky, whose team faces Waite next week.
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.