For the second time in as many games, North dominated the second half on its way to a 33-12 non-conference win at Revere on Friday.
With the win, the Rangers improved to 2-0 for the first time since the 2015 season.
“The kids really responded well, especially in that second half,” said North coach Shawn Dodd. “The kids are resilient. They definitely have a no-quit attitude and don’t get down. We challenged them a little bit at halftime and I thought they responded well. It was the same thing last week. In both games, we really took it over in the second half. We just have to figure out the first half a little bit.”
Last week, North trailed visiting Garfield Heights at halftime, 8-6, before outscoring the Bulldogs in the second half, 16-7.
On Friday, the Rangers were even more dominant in the final 24 minutes as they outscored Revere, 21-0.
The Minutemen struck first—and quickly—when they converted a 67-yard double-pass on their first play from scrimmage. The extra point hit the upright leaving Revere on top, 6-0.
That lead didn’t last long as North’s Curtis Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for the game-tying touchdown. Revere blocked the extra point.
“It was an opportunity for me to make something out of nothing,” said Thomas, who fielded the kickoff at the one-yard line and worked his way to the right sideline. “I was trying to make a person miss.”
Revere regained the lead on a 27-yard field goal with 2:58 left in the first quarter. The Minutemen returned an interception for a touchdown on the next drive but that momentum-swinging play was erased by a penalty.
Instead, the Minutemen settled for a 32-yard field goal to take a 12-6 lead early in the second quarter.
If it wasn’t for the exceptional play of its defense in the first half, North’s deficit could have been insurmountable.
“That was huge,” Dodd said of his defense’s performance in the first half. “The defense absolutely bailed us out in the first half and kept us in that game. We could have been down two or three scores going into the half but they kept us in it and then we were able to get a score there late in the second quarter. What the defense was able to do on a short field in that first half absolutely bailed us out and put us in a good position to do what we did in the second half.”
Reontae Lowery scored on a one-yard run with 3:57 left in the first half but a false start on the extra point led to another blocked attempt to keep the game tied at 12-12.
North’s defense was even stingier in the second half and when the Rangers forced a punt late in the third quarter, it was Thomas who showcased his speed and elusiveness in returning the punt 44 yards to the Revere one-yard line.
Thomas juked the first Revere defender out of his cleats and then spun out of the would-be tackle of a pair of Revere defenders before outrunning the rest of the defense.
Lowery scored on another one-yard plunge on the next play to give the Rangers a 19-12 lead.
Thomas added a 10-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth to push the Ranger lead to 26-12.
Dom Marciante then picked off a pass at the North 26 to thwart a Revere scoring opportunity.
Lowery capped off his night with a 71-yard touchdown run to close out the scoring.
“I saw the open hole and just went through it full speed,” Lowery said. “I didn’t think about it.”
With Thomas and Lowery providing the explosive plays and the offensive line dominating up front, North’s offense found some rhythm in the second half.
The Rangers now enter their Week 3 contest at Lake Catholic with a lot of momentum and confidence.