Surprising Northwestern 2-0 after 20-0 victory over Mervo


Football coaches rarely admit they are surprised by anything on a football field. But Northwestern's Lynn Badham is different.

After beating Mervo, 20-0, yesterday, Northwestern is 2-0 overall and in the MSA B Conference.

"I'm surprised," Badham said. "Especially after we had just 15 kids at the start of summer practice."

Badham said the team had to appeal to the students over the school public address system to get more players out for football. They responded, and now they're winning.

"The kids are starting to believe in us as coaches that we know what we're talking about," Badham said.

The Wildcats' victory over the Mustangs (1-2, 1-1) came a week after Northwestern upset traditional league power Dunbar, 10-8.

Badham said he didn't think his team played as well against Mervo as it did against Dunbar.

"We made too many mental mistakes [yesterday]," Badham said. "I think the kids were really anxious to play Dunbar. They didn't have a real good week of practice this week."

He said the team -- notably all-purpose running back Kevin Ruff -- was not as intense after the win over Dunbar.

"I didn't think he had his heart and soul in it," Badham said of Ruff. "At halftime I told him I thought he was better than that."

Ruff, who scored one touchdown on a 9-yard run in the first half, played better in the second half. He scored two touchdowns, once from a yard out and once from the 4.

Ruff, who had 35 yards in the first half, finished with 133.

Mervo, on the other hand, couldn't move the ball with any consistency. The Mustangs were hampered by turnovers (two fumbles and an interception) and penalties. Their final drive of the game, when they were playing just to avoid the shutout, was typical.

A few big plays moved the ball down to the Wildcats' 3. But the Mustangs were flagged for illegal procedure, then fumbled on the next play.

"They helped us out a lot by stopping themselves," Badham said.

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