TD on fourth-down direct snap gets Justin Northwest's offense on a roll in 31-17 win over Keller

KELLER — Facing fourth-and-short with three minutes left in the first half at the Keller 5-yard line, Justin Northwest coach Bill Patterson had two options Friday night: play it safe and kick the field goal, or play the odds and go for a touchdown.

With the wind howling at Keller ISD Athletic Center, Patterson rolled the dice and reaped the rewards. Northwest wide receiver Emmanuel Moore took a direct snap and rushed to the right side for a touchdown, giving Patterson’s team a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 31-17 victory.

“That’s not good coaching, I should have kicked the field goal,” Patterson said. “I don’t know, I just felt like we had a formation that we worked on and we executed. Going up 14-0 at half was big.”

Northwest quarterback Jesse Drummer completed 14 of 18 attempts for 156 yards and one touchdown. The Northwest defense allowed just 74 rushing yards to a Keller team that averaged more than 150 on the ground entering the game.

Northwest (4-0) followed its first scoring drive by holding Keller (3-1) to a three-and-out deep in its own territory. The Keller punt wobbled against a strong headwind, giving Northwest the ball at midfield. Five plays and 51 yards later, wide receiver Brady Byrd hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dusty Cloud to make it 14-0 at the break.

Keller had an opportunity to score in the third quarter when it recovered a Northwest fumble at its 18-yard line with three minutes left. But facing third-and-long, Keller quarterback Hunter McEachern was intercepted in the end zone by Northwest defensive back Parker Kneis. Northwest responded with a score on its following drive — a 51-yard touchdown catch by Chase Morrison to make it 21-0.

Both teams found offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter. Northwest scored on a 27-yard field goal and 45-yard touchdown run from Dennis Adrole — who finished with a game-high 129 yards rushing. Keller also recorded a 30-yard field goal to go along with two receiving touchdowns for Cameron Johnson.

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