UTICA — Jacob Burke devastated the Utica defense all game long on Friday to lead Northridge to a 33-26 Mid-Buckeye Conference road victory.
It was Northridge’s first MBC victory in four seasons.
Burke ran 36 times for 289 yards, nearly 74 percent of the Vikings (3-2, 1-1) offense. He rushed for four touchdowns, all in the second half, and each was on a successively longer run against a worn-down Redskin (1-4, 0-2) defense.
Northridge totaled 391 yards on the night to just 257 yards for Utica. The Redskins ran for 61 yards on 22, but got 196 yards and three touchdowns from QB Trent Vickers.
The Vikings scored first, as QB Bryant Garee completed a 16-yard TD toss to Chase Hess with 6:44 to play in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead. Northridge fumbled away a drive late in the quarter, and Utica quickly capitalized. Travis Baldwin caught a 3-yard pass from Vickers with 20.3 seconds left in the period, and the game was tied at 6.
Burke ran for 110 of the Vikings 121 yards in the first half, but was held out of the end zone. Neither team scored in the second quarter, and the score remained 6-6.
Utica received the second-half kickoff, and Ben Hays thrilled the home crowd with an 86-yard return for a touchdown which put the Redskins on top, 12-6. Northridge drove right down the field on its next drive, however, and Burke ended it on a 5-yard touchdown run to put his team in the lead, 13-12, with 6:12 remaining in the quarter. With 3:31 to play, Burke scored on a 26-yard touchdown, and the Vikings closed the third period with a 20-12 lead.
Burke continued to run wild in the fourth quarter. With less than a minute off the clock, Burke took off from the Utica 38 for this third TD of the game, and Northridge now led, 26-12. The Redskins responded less than two minutes later, as Vickers found Tyler Davidson for a 27-yard touchdown pass which cut the lead to 26-20.
Burke, however, has one more touchdown in him, and ran in from 43 yards out with 4:29 to play in the game for a 33-20 advantage. Vickers and Davidson hooked up again, this time for a 51-yard TD pass, with 1:00 left, but had no more time left.
Baldwin led the Redskins with 12 carries for 44 yards, and Davidson caught three passes for 87 yard and two scores. Hays had two catches for 75 yards, and Sam Pritchard gained 31 yards on two receptions.
Utica will remain home for a visit from Loudonville on Friday.