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Fast start ignites Northwood
IRVINE - Northwood came out firing Friday night with a strong first quarter that propelled the Timberwolves to a 41-13 victory over Rancho Alamitos in the opening round of the CIF-SS Southern Division playoffs at Irvine High.
The Timberwolves (5-6) move on to the second round next Friday at Laguna Beach.
Northwood quarterback Kevin Norman started another impressive performance by throwing a 33-yard TD pass to Ryan Tran and a 22-yard TD pass to Carter Padgham to help the Timberwolves take a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
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“They have a lot of guys going both ways, and they’re large in size so we thought we would try and wear them out,” Northwood coach Rick Curtis said. “I think that’s really what happened in the third and fourth quarters.”
Norman led Northwood, passing for 230 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for 120 yards and one TD.
Rancho Alamitos (7-4) was led by quarterback Matt Culbert, who passed for 185 yards before coming out because of an injury in the third quarter. Back-up Nicholas Brown finished the game, passing for 66 yards.
Culbert’s biggest play was a 98-yard pass to Jose Valenzuela, which moved the ball to the Northwood 1-yard line midway through the second quarter.
The Vaqueros were pushed back to the 4-yard line, but Robert Torres scored on a 4-yard run to cut the gap to 14-13 with 6:56 left in the first half.
Norman countered with an 18-yard TD run to put the Timberwolves ahead, 21-13, at halftime.
In the third, Norman hooked up with Jonathan Albright on touchdown passes of 8 and 37 yards to break the game open.
“We played our hearts out,” Albright said. “Our O-line did a great job and our defense stepped up and made plays. All our receivers made the catches and we just got it done.”
Northwood added an insurance score when Norman connected with Andy Clyde on a 17-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to make it 41-13. The Timberwolves missed the point after.