Xavier Omon rushed for four touchdowns and the Northwest defense accounted for three more as the Bearcats got past West Texas A&M 56-28 in an NCAA Division II second round playoff contest Saturday at Bearcat Stadium.
The win is the 20th for Northwest head coach Mel Tjeerdsma in the postseason, an NCAA Division II record. The Bearcats have won 16 straight games at home and improved to 7-0 against the Lone Star Conference dating back to 2004.
The 56 points scored are the most for Northwest in a playoff game since 1999 and the most given up by the Buffs this season.
Omon’s four rushing touchdowns is a Northwest postseason record. He carried 28 times for 107 yards, his ninth career 100-yard rushing performance in the playoffs.
Three West Texas A&M quarterbacks combined for 69 pass attempts, a Division II postseason record. Keith Null was 36-of-53 for 360 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Aldwin Foster-Rettig returned Null’s first interception 89 yards for a score to give Northwest a 28-7 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first half.
The Bearcats also scored defensively on a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the end zone by Ike Urum-Eke to make it 49-21 with eight minutes left in the third quarter. Chris Termini intercepted Matt McIntyre and raced 66 yards for the final score of the game late in the fourth quarter.
Null was injured in the final minute of the third quarter and with his team trailing 49-21. An injury to backup Taylor Harris in the fourth gave way to McIntyre.
Omon scored on runs of 3-, 1-, 9- and 13-yards. He leaped into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to give Northwest a 21-7 lead with 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Kendall Wright scored the game’s first touchdown on a 29-yard pitch and catch from Osborn on the opening possession of the game. The Buffs were 3-and-out on their first possession and Wright took the ensuing punt 26 yards to the Buffs’ 36-yard line. Omon was in the end zone five plays later for a 14-0 lead.
West Texas faked a field goal, which set up its first score. Dale Davis took the snap and carried to the 1-yard line and Wayne McKnight ran in from there two plays later.
Charly Martin caught two touchdown passes in the second quarter to keep the Buffs close. His second touchdown closed the gap to 35-21 just before the break.
West Texas missed a 34-yard field goal on its opening possession of the second half. The Bearcats capitalized by driving 80 yards on four plays regain its three-touchdown advantage, 42-21.
Mike Peterson set up the score with a 54-yard reception from Osborn. Peterson caught a short pass along the sidelines, broke a tackle and carried down to the West Texas 20. A penalty moved the ball to the 13 and Omon scored on a sweep on the next play.
Peterson caught three passes for a game-high 96 yards. Seth Hayden and Carl Johnson led the Buffs with seven receptions each for 95 and 90 yards, respectively. Keithon Flemming added nine catches for 71 yards and was Buffs’ leading rusher with 14 yards. Northwest rushed for 130 yards to 30 for West Texas.