FIRST TIME EVER: Football to state finals

TWO-TIME+CIF+Champions%3A+Running+back+senior+Adam+Harper+clinches+the+championship+plaque+as+the+team+excitedly+rallies+him+on.+%28One+in+a+Million+Shot%29

One in a Million Shot

TWO-TIME CIF Champions: Running back senior Adam Harper clinches the championship plaque as the team excitedly rallies him on. (One in a Million Shot)

Rhea Gupta, Staff Writer

The Northwood varsity football  team claimed a 10-7 victory against Robert F. Kennedy High School on Dec. 2 in the CIF Southern California Regional Championships, achieving a record 14 wins this season and advancing to state finals. This is the first time any IUSD football team has advanced to state finals in the 50-year district history.

Northwood started the game strong, holding a lead of 10-0 into halftime. Northwood’s defense proceeded to effectively counter Kennedy’s high-powered offense, all while running back senior Adam Harper scored the game’s first touchdown.

Going into the fourth and final quarter however, confidence within the team started to waver after Kennedy had possession of the ball with two minutes left in the game. But Northwood’s defense came in clutch and running back Harper was able to run out the clock for a Northwood win.

“Right now, we are in uncharted territory,” Harper said. “A lot of teams don’t ever go this far and we don’t want to take this opportunity for granted.”

Coming into the season, Northwood was projected to finish last in the Pacific Coast League. However, with impressive commitment and effort from the team in combination with the outstanding leadership from second-year head coach J.C. Clarke, offensive coordinator Mike Stewart, defensive coordinator Dean Toohey and assistant coaches Dave Harper and Mickey Dickson, they surpassed this expectation.

Since Northwood’s win in Division 11 last year, the team won the CIF Division 8 championship on Nov. 26 in their third CIF championship appearance.


This is the first time any IUSD football team has advanced to state finals in the 50-year district history.


This is the first time any IUSD football team has advanced to state finals in the 50-year district history.

“The team, especially the seniors, worked hard over the summer and in the off-season so that we could make it to the CIF finals again, and it paid off,” quarterback senior Eugene Miyata said. “I think some of the guys, especially the young ones, were nervous but we have a lot of seniors who played in the Championships last year, so we were comfortable playing at this level.”

Northwood now moves on to play The Escalon Cougars, a Northern California team, at State Championships held on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. To follow along, check out the Northwood Athletics Instagram page (@twolvesathletics).

“If we play at the level we’ve been playing at, I’m confident that we can go all the way.””

— senior Eugene Miyata, quarterback

“Some people don’t even get to CIF Championships and we have won two in the past two years,” defensive end sophomore Joseph Harper said. “These are definitely memories I’ll cherish forever because not only did I get to play with my brother, but Northwood football definitely has become like a family to me. Last year we won by heart, this year we won by heart.”

Expectations are high for tomorrow’s game, but the team is confident in their abilities.

“I definitely think we can win State,” Miyata said. “If we play at the level we’ve been playing at, I’m confident that we can go all the way.