DILLSBURG — It was all Northern on Senior Night at Robert F. Bostic Field at Northern High School Friday night. The Polar Bears tallied four touchdowns in the opening quarter en route to a 42-7 mercy rule victory over the Big Spring Bulldogs.
Northern (6-3, 3-2 Colonial) is chasing front-running Shippensburg and West Perry, with Mifflin County being a half a game back entering the night. Northern was sitting in the No. 12 spot in the District 3 Class 5A power ratings. The Top 14 make it to the postseason.
Kyle Swartz took the opening kickoff at the 16 and raced outside, broke a tackle and went the distance for the score just 15 seconds into the game. Swartz finished the game with seven carries for 74 yards.
“I picked up the ball and saw an opening and got a couple of big blocks and it was open until I had to break a tackle to score,” Swartz said. “We played very good defense throughout the game and got good blocking. Everything seemed to work for us in the first half.”
After a quick three-and-out, the Polar Bears drove 52 yards with Swartz scoring from the 1. Chris Barrett added the point after and the Bears led 14-0.
Big Spring’s next possession went nowhere and a bad punt gave the Bears the ball at the 42. Swartz took the seventh play around left end for 6 yards and six points.
After another Bulldog punt, Jordan Heisey found Tim Geiser for 31 yards and a score. A blocked extra point was picked up by Barrett and ran in for two points. Northern led 29-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Big Spring had three plays in the opening quarter where they gained seven or more yards, but each was negated by a penalty.
“It didn’t start well and didn’t get any better in the first half,” Bulldog coach Cory Hoffman said. “We didn’t tackle guys and when we did do something positive, we seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
In the second quarter, Swartz tallied his fourth score as he found a hole and broke right to the end zone. Later Chris Barrett found Geiser again for 20 yards for the 42-0 score. Geiser finished the game with three catches for 102 yards.
Big Spring (3-6, 1-4 Colonial) sitting No. 13 in the District 3 Class 4A field where 10 make it into the postseason, finally got on the board in the third quarter as Tim Siwy underthrew Braden Petty, but the ball bounced off the defender’s hand and Petty kept his eye on the bounce, hauled it in and raced 59 yards for a Bulldog score. Petty caught five passes for 103 yards.
“Braden is such a hard worker and kept his eye on the ball and it was nice to see him score,” Hoffman said. “He works so hard on both sides of the ball.”
The Bulldogs went to the youngsters late in the contest and moved the ball down the field behind Jack Shulenberger and Austin Walter. The drive stalled inside the red zone after Shulenberger overthrew two receivers in the end zone and one pass was dropped.