SHICKSHINNY — Northwest got the best start any team could ask for.
Tony Politz returned the opening kickoff 84-yards for a touchdown, propelling the Rangers to a 45-7 victory over Nanticoke Friday night.
"It was just pure adrenaline," Politz said of the return. "My family was in the stands with big signs pumping me up."
Politz rushed for three more touchdowns and 225 yards on 17 carries, leading a Northwest ground attack that piled up 309 yards.
"I didn't even get touched half the time," Politz said in praise of the offensive line. "Yeah, I can run the ball, but I can't block for myself. It's all them."
Nanticoke was able to withstand the early blow, tightening defensively and playing even for the rest of the first quarter. Northwest was forced to punt out of their own end zone, and Pat Hembel returned the ball 45 yards for a touchdown with 8:58 remaining in the half.
The Rangers responded two plays later when Politz found a hole up the middle and broke away for an 89-yard touchdown with 7:55 left in the second quarter.
After a Trojans punt was blocked, the Rangers took over on the Nanticoke 21-yard line. Politz took a handoff up the middle and scored to extend the Northwest lead to 21-7 with 4:26 remaining.
"(Rangers coach Carl) Majer always says we have to put the nail in the coffin," Politz said. "It was slow for a while offensively for us, and once we got one touchdown we felt like we could get another."
Politz provided the final nail on a third down from his own 20-yard line, bursting free for an 80-yard touchdown run with 59 seconds left in the first half.
"To end the half the way we did gave us all the confidence in the world," Politz said. The Rangers took a 28-7 lead into halftime.
Nanticoke struggled to gain momentum as Northwest's defense brought pressure. A blocked punt was recovered by Kenny Jones for a touchdown with 7:51 in the third. Northwest also had two interceptions.
"We have a lot of guys to throw in offensively and defensively," Majer said. "We can wear down teams."
NW – Tony Politz 84 kickoff return (Tyler Pegarella kick), 11:47
NAN – Pat Hempel 45 punt return (Alec Norton kick), 8:58
NW – Politz 89 run (Pegarella kick), 7:55
NW – Politz 21 run (Pegarella kick), 4:26
NW – Politz 80 run (Pegarella kick), 0:59
NW – Pegarella 22 FG, 9:43
NW – Kenny Jones blocked punt recovery (Pegarella kick), 7:51
Marcus Welliver 48 run (Pegarella kick), 10:54
RUSHING – NW: Tony Politz 17-225, Austin Mazonkey 5-13, Logan Womelsdorf 1-(-1), Marcus Welliver 4-54, Eric Gurzinski 5-17
NAN: Pat Hempel 9-43, Mike Colatosti 9-22, Blake Balderrama 8-28, T.J. Levandowski 3-(-25), Nate Seise 2-7, Tyler Myers 1-(-9), Brad Yanus 3-4
PASSING – NW: Logan Womelsdorf 3-11-0-41, Marcus Welliver 1-5-0-22
NAN: T.J. Levandowski 2-8-1-44, Tyler Myers 1-2-1-19
RECEIVING – NW: Tyler Meininger 1-8, Nick Long 1-28, Eric Gurzinski 2-27
NAN: Pat Hempel 3-63
INTS – NW: Tyler Pegarella, Matt Mitchell
MISSED FGS – None