MECHANICSBURG — Phil Cook scored a couple of early touchdowns to put Mechanicsburg ahead of Northwestern and the Indians cruised to a 35-0 victory Friday night in non-league football action.
It was a career night for Cook. The rain was coming down steadily, but that didn’t affect the run-heavy Indians, as they powered Cook into the end zone from 10 yards out and 17 yards out to put up a 14-0 lead in the first 6 minutes of play.
“Mechanicsburg football begins and ends with being physical,” M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest said. “Phil’s an extremely intense kid. He wants to be good and that competitive spirit comes out in him. He and the offensive line have been awesome.”
Northwestern put a bit of a drive together on its second possession, but gave the ball back to the Indians nonetheless.
The first quarter ended with M’burg driving again, and Cook capped it off with a 14-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter – notching his third scoring run of the game.
The Indians (3-0) finally had to punt on their next possession when Kaleb Romero missed a wide-open pass deep to Colton McMannis down the left sideline.
Northwestern (2-1) was just unable to move the ball when it mattered – a trend that would continue all night.
Romero made them pay on the next possession, driving it in from 6 yards out after a moderate drive just before the half to make it 28-0.
Mechanicsburg threatened inside the 5-yard line on its opening drive of the second half, but fumbled the ball away and gave the Warriors possession.
Two plays later, a McMannis interception gave M’burg terrific field position at the Northwestern 20-yard line.
After a huge loss trying to scramble by Romero, a pass was completed and the ball came loose on the hit. It bounced directly to a sprinting Warrior, who secured it on the run and sprinted across midfield, giving Northwestern its best starting field position of the game.
Again NW was turned away, with M’burg taking over on downs.
The quarter ended scoreless on both sides, but Cook struck again on the first play of the fourth quarter. The senior hammered it up the middle and emerged from the pile on his feet, dashing 20 yards for a score – his fourth of the game.
Cook finished with 101 yards and 4 touchdowns on 13 carries.
With the running clock in effect, the backups came in for Mechanicsburg.
The second unit promptly gave the ball away on a fumble, but it wouldn’t matter, as Northwestern couldn’t move the ball against the defense and turned it over on downs.
The young guys were able to hold onto the ball for the Indians, picking up a first down and putting the game away while killing the clock.
Junior quarterback Romero set the school’s all-time record for total offense (5,456 yards) in the game – three games into his third year of varsity play.
“I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that, that I haven’t said about Kaleb. That’s an incredible statistic,” Forrest said.
John Samples had 11 tackles and Cook had 8 tackles.
Mechanicsburg plays at Cedarville next Friday night.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.