• Video Below: See highlights from Millard-North Norfolk
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Nick DeLuca’s wait is over.
The Millard North senior got a bonus with his first career interception — a touchdown — that helped the Mustangs blow out Norfolk 62-7 in Friday’s Class A football first-round playoff game at Buell Stadium.
“My eyes got really big when I saw it coming,” DeLuca said. “I was thinking, ‘Hey, I’m finally going to get a pick.’ It’s been a goal of mine for a while.”
DeLuca, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound linebacker, had the second of the four interceptions Norfolk quarterback Taylor Reedy threw in the first half.
“I just jumped the route,” DeLuca said. “He didn’t see me.”
Also getting pickoffs and lengthy returns were Avram Tynes, for 25 yards; Brian Moses, for 36 yards; and Nick Roth, for 20 yards. Add in a bad punt snap that led to Norfolk losing the ball on downs at its 11, and the Mustangs cashed in Norfolk’s miscues for 24 points in the second quarter and a 34-7 halftime lead.
“I really thought our defense played well the whole game, though the scoreboard doesn’t show it,” said Norfolk coach Tom Olson, who bemoaned a game that ended with Norfolk also losing two of six fumbles.
The Panthers were without Reedy and running back Hayden Johnson for the second half after they were injured.
“And we’re not very deep anyway,” Olson said.
It was a relatively light workload for Isaac Aakre, Millard North’s senior quarterback who ran 17 times for 179 yards and a touchdown and threw a short pitch forward to Clay Fisher for a 22-yard passing touchdown that opened the scoring.
Conner Matthew ran for 127 yards and a touchdown. Andy Bayne made field goals of 30 and 36 yards and was perfect on his eight extra-point kicks.
Fisher scored twice, Matt Evans went the final 3 yards with a downfield pitch from Aakre and Steven Price returned a Fisher fumble 55 yards. Freshman quarterback Aalante Walker took a keeper 36 yards for his first career touchdown that ended the scoring.
Norfolk’s touchdown, a 13-yard run by Johnson, came on a 69-yard drive on the Panthers’ opening possession to tie the game at 7.
Bayne made a 30-yard field goal on Millard North’s next possession for a 10-7 lead and the Panthers had only one more series with which they could have taken the lead.
Norfolk (4-6) .......................... 7 0 0 0— 7
At Millard North (10-0) ............... 10 24 14 14—62
MN: Clay Fisher 23 pass from Isaac Aakre (Andy Bayne kick)
NF: Hayden Johnson 13 run (Kyle Temple kick)
MN: FG Bayne 30
MN: Conner Matthew 7 run (Bayne kick)
MN: Nick DeLuca 28 interception return (Bayne kick)
MN: FG Bayne 36
MN: Matt Evans 3 lateral (Bayne kick)
MN: Aakre 26 run (Bayne kick)
MN: Fisher 1 run (Bayne kick)
MN: Steven Price 55 fumble return (Bayne kick)
MN: Aalante Walker 36 run (Bayne kick)
RUSHING: NF, Johnson 4-43, Reedy 6-16, Chase Hopper 15-10, Cody Merchant 2-2, team 2-minus 6. MN, Aakre 17-179, Matthew 20-127, Evans 0-3, Walker 2-35, Adrrell Taylor 1-4, Fisher 5-0, team 4-minus 5.
PASSING: NF, Reedy 11-23-4 101, Hopper 3-8-0 21. MN, Aakre 1-3-1 22.
RECEIVING: NF, Jacob Hjorth 5-49, Bobby Albrecht 4-26, Blaine Rohlk 1-12, Blake Bauer 1-4, Brady Houdek 1-11, Johnson 2-13. MN, Fisher 1-22.
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