Trib HSSN Football Team of the Week 2021: Week Zero
Monday, August 30, 2021 | 10:23 PM
On Sept. 22, 2017, Northgate edged Sto-Rox, 17-14 to improve the Flames’ record in the Class A Big Seven Conference to 2-2.
Little did anybody know it would be the last Northgate football victory for nearly four years.
The Flames torched a district high 32-game losing streak Friday when Northgate defeated visiting Carlynton, 22-6.
“It was very exciting to get the W on Friday night,” Northgate coach Mike Fulmore said. “To see our program reach our goals was a long time coming. The kids were happy and excited about winning, and it was great we could do it at Alumni Field with our community, school and family there to see us do it.”
Northgate lost its last five games in 2017, finished 0-10 in 2018, 0-9 in 2019 and 0-8 a year ago for 32 straight losses, 14 shy of the all-time district record of 46 by West Shamokin.
“We never talk about the record but always remained focused on our next game,” Fulmore said. “We knew our time was coming and worked hard to get better every day with a determination to do the little things right.”
Trailing 6-0 at halftime, Northgate came out and scored 22 unanswered points to get the much-awaited victory.
“It was a great team effort,” Fulmore said. “With every play, I could see the confidence grow and the kids responded. We made a few errors in the first half and a score was called back. At the half, we talked about being in shape and sticking to our game plan. We knew coming out of the locker room we were the better team that night and were prepared to play the entire game.”
Fulmore said it was a team effort in winning in Week Zero, starting with his young quarterback, Austin Mitchell.
“He showed maturity as a sophomore and made plays all over the field with his legs and arm,” he said. “Lewis Clark was impressive. He made a few huge plays that resulted in points. The turning point was an onside kick by Jake Harrison, who recovered his own kick in the third quarter. It was a great play that electrified the stadium.
“Jayden Mitchell did the hard work in the fourth quarter and ate the clock up. He helped us move the ball slowly down the field. Finally, I’ve got to give a shout out to a big guy. Dylan McWilliams played like a giant Friday night. He made his presence known to everyone Friday. He did the hard dirty work that allowed us to win that football game.”
Having coached at Wilkinsburg and Charleroi in the past, Fulmore is in his fourth year as head coach at Northgate and will hold this victory close to his heart.
“Personally, I’ve never worked harder for a win,” he said. “I’ve always believed in our kids and knew we could do it. On the pride scale, it was at the top. There’s nothing better than to watch the Northgate varsity football program grow. To know we have remained focused for so long and to finally see it materialize is definitely one of the best memories of my career as a coach.”
Could the Flames’ winning streak reach two in a row? Northgate hosts Mapletown in a Class A nonconference game Friday.
“We remain focused on doing the little things it takes to be a great team,” Fulmore said. “I recognize that momentum is a big thing and we are ready for that ride.”
2020 HSSN Team of the Week
Week 12 – Central Valley Warriors
Week 11 – Thomas Jefferson Jaguars
Week 10 – Jeannette Jayhawks
Week 9 – Central Catholic Vikings
Week 8 – Penn-Trafford Warriors
Week 7 – McKeesport Tigers
Week 6 – Elizabeth Forward Warriors
Week 5 – Aliquippa Quips
Week 4 – Serra Catholic Eagles
Week 3 – Avella Eagles
Week 2 – Peters Township Indians
Week 1 – Chartiers Valley Colts
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