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The Journal Gazette

  • Elizabeth Wyman | The Journal Gazette Northrop quarterback Bailey Meerzo lines up under center ready to take a snap in the first quarter in Friday's 41-21 win over Carroll.

Saturday, September 08, 2018 1:00 am

Northrop 41 Carroll 21

QB's composure, legs power Bruins

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

“Meerzo on the keeper” repeatedly rang through the Spuller Stadium speakers like a broken record.

Northrop senior quarterback Bailey Meerzo lit up the scoreboard and the stat sheet Friday night in a 41-21 win over Carroll.

It was the Bruins' first win over the Chargers since 1972.

Meerzo ran to his teammates on the sideline hands held high and yelled “let's go” as zeros appeared on the scoreboard, signaling Northrop (2-2) has matched last year's win total.

“It feels great; we've been looking for this the past four or five years,” Meerzo said. “We had to break through and this week was it.”

Meerzo was 9-of-13 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown. Tack on his 149 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns and he might have just made the Bruins into a top SAC team.

“We've been so close for so long and to finally turn the corner and get that win. It's awesome; our kids deserve it,” coach Jason Doerfller said. “We got the breaks. We got a fumble, a pick, a blocked punt; those are the plays you got to make if you want to be a winning team, and they went our way this week.”

The Bruins didn't just squeeze out a last-second victory either. Northrop dominated the Chargers (2-2) in nearly every facet.

The Bruins jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on a Jeremiah Green touchdown run in the first quarter. Green finished with 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Strong defensive play kept the ball out of the hands of Carroll quarterback Gaven Vogt, and Meerzo danced the Bruins into Carroll territory with authority.

After a wild snap forced Meerzo to retreat nearly eight yards to collect the ball, he calmly scooped it up and found Qualen Pettus in the end zone to turn a broken play into points.

“I don't like to brag or get my head high,” Meerzo said of his on-field composure. “I just stay calm and keep the flow of the game going.”

The Chargers responded with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Vogt to Layton Mitchell with 9:43 left in the half to make it 14-7.

But Meerzo and the Bruins always seemed to have an answer as the quarterback ran into the end zone to make it 20-7. The 2-point conversion was no good.

Vogt found Camdyn Childers in the end zone to cut the lead to six going into the half. Vogt finished 19-of-36 passing for 269 yards and three touchdowns.

However, the big plays came from the Bruins. Meerzo was the obvious star, but the offense, defense and special teams played a near-perfect game. With an interception, two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt, Northrop's execution was too much for the Chargers.

The Bruins have played three spectacular halves of football, starting last week at Wayne. After falling behind 21-0 and still down 41-28 in the fourth quarter, Meerzo led the team back to fall one-point short. But according to Doerffler, it sparked something in the Bruins.

“I have to give credit to our kids because they came with a great attitude on Monday,” Doerffler said. “For the Northrop teams in the past, where that (loss) maybe would have dwelled on them, and maybe we don't play well this week.

“They came to work; they accepted the challenge and they're loving each other, which is the key ingredient to a winning football team.”