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Published: Saturday, 8/28/2010

Northwood overpowers Lakota to claim win

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Northwood's Erik Russell, being tackled by Lakota's Jordan Harrison, scored on a 10-yard QB keeper in the second quarter.<br>
<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW GALLERY:</b></font> <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100828&Kategori=SPORTS12&Lopenr=828009996&Ref=PH"> <b> Football: Northwood vs. Lakota</b></a> Aug. 27, 2010 Northwood's Erik Russell, being tackled by Lakota's Jordan Harrison, scored on a 10-yard QB keeper in the second quarter.<br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW GALLERY:</b></font> <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100828&Kategori=SPORTS12&Lopenr=828009996&Ref=PH"> <b> Football: Northwood vs. Lakota</b></a> Aug. 27, 2010
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Northwood kicked off the 2010 season with a bang against Lakota Friday night on the Rangers' home field.

The preseason frontrunner to claim the Toledo Area Athletic Conference championship blanked Lakota 36-0 before an enthusiastic Rangers home crowd of approximately 800.

The Rangers put together a complete team effort in toppling the Raiders, who had won the last three encounters.

"We were 100 percent ready," said Northwood's all-purpose halfback Zach Bermejo, who provided three of the Rangers' five touchdowns. "We've practiced hard. We went full-go always in practice, beating each other up in practice. We came out here and just performed."

Lakota's Logan Greiner is tackled by Northwood's Ricky Hartley as Mike Prothero moves in to help.
Lakota's Logan Greiner is tackled by Northwood's Ricky Hartley as Mike Prothero moves in to help.
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None performed any better than Bermejo, who finished the night with 155 yards rushing on seven carries, including touchdown scampers of 46, 6, and 74 yards. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound senior found the end zone for all three of his scores before intermission to lead the Rangers into halftime with a comfortable 30-0 advantage.

"You can't do that stuff without blocking," Bermejo said. "I had great blocking and speed kills."

Northwood quarterback Erik Russell attempted only 10 passes, completing 4 for 19 yards. However, Russell did cap the Rangers' fourth scoring drive when he scored on a 10-yard keeper with 4:46 left in the second quarter.

Jake Pressley accounted for the Rangers' final touchdown of the night when he scored on an 8-yard end-around with just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Zach Bermejo scored on runs of 46, 6, and 74 yards for Northwood.
Zach Bermejo scored on runs of 46, 6, and 74 yards for Northwood.
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Pressley, a 6-2, 192-pound senior, also returned a punt 41 yards down to Lakota's 6-yard line to set up the Rangers' second scoring opportunity.

He said they were ready to deal with the Raiders, who had been a stickler in their sides since he's been at Northwood.

"We wanted this game real bad," said Pressley, who also intercepted a pass. "We've got 12 or 13 seniors on the team and they've beaten us the last three years, so we really wanted this one."

Bermejo offered similar thoughts about avoiding the possibility of being swept by Lakota for his entire high school career.

"We wanted to let them know we're a new team," Bermejo said. "We have a bunch of guys back. We had freshmen step up, sophomores step up, and we all go hard in practice. We just wanted to let them know that we're not going to be the same team we've been and we're going to be a lot tougher."

Northwood's offense came out clicking while the defense stormed out kicking against Lakota.

Raiders running back Logan Greiner was held to a team-best 24 yards rushing on 12 carries. Lakota was stopped from scoring in the final seconds of the first half by an unyielding Rangers goal-line defense on four straight plays inside the

5-yard line.

Raiders coach Jim Kelly commended the Rangers for a strong season-opening effort.

"They have a good program and they were determined to beat us," Kelly said. "We're young and we're inexperienced in some spots and it showed. We just have to get better.

"I give them a lot of credit. They're a good football team. They'll go to the playoffs if they play like that."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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