Defense leads way, Huskies defeat Tigers 24-17

The varsity football team defeated the Blue Valley Tigers, 24-17, Thursday, Sept. 17. In the first half of the game the Huskies defense pitched a shutout.

Jonny Isaacson, Sports Editor

Coming into the game, the Huskies were looking to start the season hot and after a quarter of play the Huskies had allowed zero total points and were tied, 0-0. Head coach Clint Rider gave credit to new defensive coordinator Kollin Ahern.

“Our new defensive coordinator, coach Ahern, he’s come in with a really weird year, not having time with kids, time to practice tackling and do all those things and he really installed the defense on a short time frame,” Rider said.

The score would stay locked with neither team on the board until with 8:12 left in the second quarter, junior quarterback Mikey Pauley would find junior wide receiver Max Muehlberger for a 26 yard touchdown. Pauley would extend the Huskies lead with an 11 yard touchdown run with a little over two minutes to go in the second quarter. Pauley said he was enabled to play good by how well the offensive line played.

“Great blocks by the line, receivers working hard to get their guys blocked and it’s the first game, I was just excited to run the ball,” Pauley said.

With just ten seconds left in the half, the Huskies defense forced a fumble that resulted in a field goal which extended their halftime lead to 17-0. 

After not allowing a single score from the Tigers for the entirety of the first half, the Tigers came out of the half and scored in under three minutes cutting the Huskies lead to 17-7. The Tigers would add a field goal before the end of the third quarter making it 17-10. Rider said Blue Valley did a good job of forcing turnovers to put themselves back in the game.

“The offense kind of stuttered, we had a lot of picks and we came out a little lethargic and I think it was just field position and turnovers that led to that,” Rider said.

Only leading by a single touchdown, the Huskies found themselves facing a fourth and 1 at midfield with under ten minutes to go in the game. Deciding to go for it the Huskies converted and kept the drive alive. The Huskies would keep the same aggressive mindset by going for a fourth and four from the Tigers 25 yard line. Rider said the choices came down to wanting to get the momentum back.

“We chose to punt earlier when we had a 4th and 1 and we didn’t have a really good punt, so we had to make a choice there, momentum was swinging their direction and we had to do something to take it back,” Rider said. “The line did a good job blocking and Mikey made a huge run.”

Finishing off the drive, sophomore running back Grant Stubblefield ran the ball into the endzone for a two yard touchdown to give the Huskies a late 14 point advantage. Starting his first game for the Huskies Stubblefield said it felt good to suit up for the Huskies.

“It felt great,” Stubblefield said. “I’ve been playing football my whole life so it felt even better.”

The Tigers responded quickly, scoring a touchdown of their own, putting the score at 24-17. Forcing the Huskies into a three and out on the next drive, the Tigers found themselves with a chance to tie the game with just under four minutes left.


Starting their drive at the Northwest 44, the Tigers would gain 3 total yards in 3 minutes, to put them at the 41 yard line with a 4th and 25 to decide the game. Junior Zach Yates picked the ball off to guarantee the Huskies win. After the play, Yates said he was happy to seal the game for his team.

“Pretty nice, game sealing pick for the win, first time we’ve had a first game win in a long time so it was nice,” Yates said.

Along with the game winning interception, Yates was one of the defensive backs tasked with guarding star Blue Valley wide receiver Dorian Stephens. Yates said although there was a size mismatch the game plan created for him did a good job at stopping him.

“He’s 6’3, we had a scouting report all week on him so we were prepared coming in, he’s big size so you gotta adapt to that, but we put the game plan in and it worked out well,” Yates said.

Pauley, who finished the game with 127 rushing yards and added a rushing and passing touchdown, gave all the credit to his defense for the win.

“It was perfect, they won us the game no doubt, they had four turnovers or whatever, they won us the game, that’s all them,” Pauley said.

Yates attributed the team’s defensive performance to the work that they’ve done to change the culture of Northwest football.

“You know it’s a culture we’ve built the last three years, it’s something we expect out of ourselves but it’s good to see the results come,” Yates said.

After the win, Stubblefield said the team is here to stay.

“We’re a new team, we aren’t the Northwest of old and we’re here to win,” Stubblefield said.