Northwood football crowned CIF champions for first time


Photos Provided by Alexei Tolkachev / @oneinamillionshot

A NIGHT IN NORTHWOOD HISTORY: Rallied on by Pep Squad and an excited crowd, Northwood Football put on a dominant performance to claim its first-ever CIF title at Irvine Stadium, earning a ticket to the regional playoff game.

Yejin Heo, Staff Writer

For the first time in school history, Northwood varsity football claimed victory at the CIF Div. 11 championship game winning 37-14 over Jordan High School on Nov. 26.
Although Northwood’s football team has played in six consecutive league championships, this is only their second CIF championship game appearance, the first since 2005. The win also booked a place in the regional playoff game, which the Timberwolves narrowly lost 14-7.
The team scored a touchdown almost immediately into the game against Jordan like they had been for the last couple of weeks, amping up their defense and rushing forward with interceptions by juniors Adam Harper and Danial Kamal. Later on, quarterback junior Eugene Miyata scored on two touchdowns and had a 10-yard pass to freshman Joseph Harper that resulted in a touchdown, bringing up their score to 14-7 by halftime. The team then scored a flurry of touchdowns in the third quarter to an eventual total of 37.
“Going into the game, I felt the most pressured and nervous ever,” junior Jonathan Kang said. “However, our hard work paid off and I definitely felt satisfied with our score.”
The victory at Irvine stadium was the outcome of months of remarkable leadership by first-year head coach JC Clarke, defensive coordinator Dean Toohey, offensive coordinator Mike Stewart, assistant coach Dave Harper and assistant coach Mickey Dickson, as well as the incredible endurance of the team. A tremendous crowd of spectators showed up for both teams including more than 40 Northwood alumni, even stretching beyond the marching band’s section, despite the game taking place the day after Thanksgiving.
“We went into CIF taking it just one week at a time. We prepared with a regular practice schedule every week, preparing our offense, defense and special teams,” defensive coordinator Dean Toohey said. “There was a lot of pressure on them, but in the end, our team was composed. They played well and played for each other- that’s why we were successful.”
Northwood ended their season with a 9-6 overall winning record, defeating Jordan, Vista del Lago, Riverside Polytechnic, Big Bear, Beckman, Woodbridge and University High Schools. Their wins have granted them the top spot in the Pacific Valley League.
Celebrating their big win, the marching band played the alma mater as the football team accepted their CIF championship plaque. Chanting Harper’s name proudly, the team rushed towards the end zone near the student section as students poured out to form a crowd around them.
“I’ve been to almost every football game this season, and this game’s energy was unmatched because there was so much on the line,” senior Haley Chan said. “You could almost sense the pressure the players and coaches were feeling. The audience was truly watching history unfold.”