Varsity Kansas

Heights backfield punishes Northwest

Heights running back Ontario Russell sprints for the end zone and another touchdown against Northwest on Saturday afternoon.
Heights running back Ontario Russell sprints for the end zone and another touchdown against Northwest on Saturday afternoon. The Wichita Eagle

Ontario Russell made his statement. He and the entire Heights backfield made a bigger statement with 531 rushing yards.

Heights’ sophomore running back led the way with 12 carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns against City League-champion Northwest, spurring the Falcons’ 53-33 victory Saturday at Heights.

Heights trailed 14-7 in the second quarter Friday when the game was suspended by rain and lightning.

“There was a lot of talking before this game,” Russell said. “After we fell behind last night, we knew we had to come out strong today and play our best.”

It didn’t take long for the Heights offense to get going Saturday. A 74-yard drive was capped by Russell’s 27-yard touchdown, though a missed extra point kept Northwest (1-1, 1-1 CL) ahead 14-13.

But Heights was more than Russell. Senior Jalani Williams rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown, sophomore K’Vante’ Baker added 117 and a score, and junior Dejuan Scott had 94 yards and a touchdown.

“You see a lot of teams pride themselves with throwing the ball,” Heights coach Terry Harrison said. “We’re a team that likes to ground and pound, we get almost all of our yards running the ball and that’s what we were able to do again today.”

Heights (2-0, 1-0) grabbed a 19-14 lead at the 5:48 mark in the second quarter after Baker was able to break four tackles and spin out of two more to find his way in the end zone from 42 yards.

Jahlyl Rounds scored from three yards to give Northwest a 21-19 lead with 4:28 to go before the half.

But Heights took the lead for good on the ensuing drive on Russell’s 21-yard run.

“We came out strong out of the gates today,” Harrison said. “That’s what we had to do, we looked like a completely different ball team today than we did last night.”

Heights was able to use the clock to their advantage in the second half, running the ball up the middle and staying inbounds to give the high-powered Northwest offense less time on the field. The Falcons outscored Northwest 39-7 in nearly 25 minutes of play, scoring on 6 of drives.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to our offensive line,” Scott said. “Them and our receivers were making the holes big for us running backs, we saw a lot of open space and with our speed, that’s hard to stop.”

Trailing 46-21, Northwest junior Austin Anderson found junior Jaxson Reynolds for a quick 10-yard connection to cut the lead to 19 7:56 to go.

Martese Mullins, who caught two touchdown passes before Friday’s suspension, caught one from 29 yards to cut the lead to 46-33. Anderson completed 13 of 28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns.

Russell had an answer on an end-around trick play, scoring from 28 yards and putting the game out of reach.

“This is a good win for us,” Harrison said. “We’ve got to travel out west next week for another tough test in Dodge City. We’ll celebrate this win tonight, but then tomorrow it’s back to scouting Dodge.”

Northwest 14 7 0 12 33
Heights 7 18 14 16 55

NW — Mullins 38 pass from Anderson (Benoit kick)

NW — Mullins 43 pass from Anderson (Benoit kick)

H — Russell 10 pass from Baker (Urbina kick)

H — Russell 27 run (kick failed)

H — Baker 42 run (kick failed)

NW — Rounds 3 run (Benoit kick)

H — Russell 21 run (run failed)

H — Scott 7 run (Urbina kick)

H — Williams 60 run (Urbina kick)

H — Scott 16 run (Urbina kick)

NW — Reynolds 10 pass from Anderson (pass failed)

NW — Mullins 29 pass from Anderson (pass failed)

H — Russell 28 run (Urbina kick)

Individual Statistics

Rushing — Northwest, Rounds 12-63, Garner 9-68, Anderson 8-(-5), Mullins 1-6; Heights, Williams 8-148, Russell 12-127, Baker 15-117, Scott 18-94, Kirkendoll 6-45.

Passing — Northwest, Anderson 13-28-0-264; Heights, Baker 1-3-0-10.

Receiving — Northwest, Mullins 6-178, Reynolds 5-64, Rounds 1-12, Smith 1-10; Heights, Russell 1-10.

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