HUGHESVILLE — The Sacred Heart Gremlins are moving on in the 8-man football playoffs after beating Northwest on Friday 74-32.
RaeQuan Williams led Sacred Heart with 191 yards rushing. Trent Lyles completed 8 of 12 passes for 112 yards.
“That balance takes some of the work-load off of Trent,” said Gremlins coach Ben Lyles. “It just makes us more effective when you’ve got multiple weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Credit to the offensive line. They did an incredible job with the trap blocking. … Jacob Smothers and Ty Wissman and David Moreno deserve a lot of credit.”
Northwest was led by Tyler Harper’s 179 yards on 21 carries.
“Garren Powell is gone for the year so we had to step up with Tyler Harper and he came through with 179 yards rushing and three touchdowns,” said Northwest coach Garry Walker.
The Gremlins opened the scoring on their first drive of the game as Williams capped off a 35-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run.
After the Gremlins defense held the Mustangs to three-and-out, Lyles took the punt return all the way back for another score. The score was especially costly for the Mustangs. Already short-handed, they lost Nate Lynde to an injury on the play. Northwest finished the game with five freshmen on the field.
“I’m playing with 10 players but they stuck with it, they don’t ever quit,” Walker said.
After holding Northwest again, the Gremlins made it 22-0 on the next drive as Lyles rolled right and threw back to the left to Cashman on a screen play. Cashman took the pass 42 yards for the score.
In the second quarter, Lyles again found Cashman for a 30-yard touchdown. Williams found running room in the second quarter for a 49-yard score.
Northwest answered on the first play of the following drive. Daniel Blaylock’s pass to Chandler Crosswhite was tipped in the air, but Crosswhite stayed with the ball and hauled it in, taking it 52 yards for the touchdown.
The Gremlins answered with another Williams score on the following drive, but Northwest marched back down the field in the final minute of the half. Blaylock took it to the Sacred Heart 13 with eight second left, then ran it in on the next play to make it 46-14 at halftime.
Opening the third quarter, Williams carried it 27 yards to put the ball near midfield and Lyles carried it 43 yards up the right sideline on the next play for a touchdown to make it 54-14.
The Mustangs marched the other way with a 10-play drive. Harper carried it six times on the drive and Blaylock capped it off with a two-yard touchdown pass to Connor Tichenor. However on the ensuing kickoff, Williams took it 79 yards for the score, the Gremlins’ second return touchdown of the night.
“We’ve been really stressing that we’ve got to get better field position,” Ben Lyles said. “We really made a point of emphasis that the guy you mark at the kickoff, stay with him down the field.”
Northwest marched the other way for a score on the following possession to cut the lead to 62-26, but the Gremlins answered with another six-play, 65-yard drive capped off by a Cashman touchdown.
The Gremlins were poised to add to the lead in the fourth quarter but fumbled in Northwest territory. The Mustangs marched the other way and Blaylock capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown run.
Sacred Heart took the ball the other way on the following drive with Easton Webb scoring from a yard out to make it 74-32.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles