Tuesday, March 11, 2014 2:37 AM
Published on: Monday, November 19, 2012
By Steve Ruiz
GERMANTOWN - Northwest may have just snuck through the back door of the 4A West playoffs with a win last week. But Friday, the Jaguars kicked their way through the front door of the second round with a 34-7 dismantling of Churchill.
Senior Tyler Ambush, playing his last game before the Northwest faithful, sparked the Jaguars on both sides of the ball, running in two scores and adding an interception and fumble recovery on defense.
Northwest jumped out to an early 6-0 lead when quarterback Matty Callahan connected with Lawrence Murphy for a touchdown after Luke Pierce’s interception of Churchill quarterback Jonathan Lee set the Jaguars offense up with a short field on the first drive of the game.
Ambush tacked on another score from a yard out to extend Northwest’s lead to 13, and a 17-yard run by Byron Johnson put the Jaguars up 20-0 with just under 10 minutes left in the second quarter.
The Northwest defense took over from there, pressuring the quarterback and forcing Lee into bad throws that all too often ended up in the hands of a Jaguar defender.
“I’m really proud of those guys,” Northwest coach Mike Neubeiser said of his secondary, which picked off Lee four times. “They took good angles. [Churchill] is a good team, [Dominique Williams] is a great receiver, but our guys came to play.”
Down 20-0, the Bulldogs regained some momentum when Lee took off for a 46-yard touchdown run, speeding through the Jaguars defense on his way to the end zone.
The Churchill defense held the Northwest to a three-and-out, but Ambush quashed any hope Churchill had when he managed to strip Bulldogs receiver Joe Nolan while diving in for a tackle and securing the ball before hitting the ground.
Two plays later, Ambush ran off the left tackle and cut on a dime, slicing his way through the Churchill defense before dragging a defender into the end zone for an eight-yard score that put the Jaguars up 27-7 with just over five minutes left in the first half.
The Northwest defense saw the game out in the second half, shutting the Churchill offense out the rest of the way and causing three second-half turnovers.
Jaguars defensive back Dimitrius Good, who notched three interceptions, said he was expecting Churchill to come out and test the secondary after falling behind big.
“I knew they were going to come out and throw it in the second half,” he said, “and I just baited them into throwing it my way, and I came up with the ball.”
With the win, Northwest moves on to the 4A West regional final on the road against Quince Orchard, who beat the Jaguars earlier in September.
“[Quince Orchard] is one of the best teams in the state, but we’re going to go in and give them everything we’ve got,” Neubeiser said. “I think we’re a little better than the last time we played them, so hopefully it will be a good game.”