The Beechcroft High School football team used four rushing touchdowns, a safety and a stifling defense to defeat Northland 29-0 on Friday and qualify for the Division II playoffs at 9-1 overall. The Cougars also finished 6-1 in the City League-North Division.

The muddy conditions at Northland were right for Beechcroft's running attack, which got 129 yards on 27 attempts from running back Wallace Hale, 51 yards and two touchdowns on seven tries from quarterback Joe Simpson and two more scores from running back Braylyn Watkins.

"That's what we do all the time," Beechcroft coach Tom Dunlap said of his rushing offense, which accounted for 256 of the team's 264 yards of total offense. "We run the ball all the time."

Simpson's 1-yard run in the first quarter got the scoring going to cap a 15-play drive which took 8:05 off the clock to start the game. Watkins then made it 13-0 on an 8-yard touchdown run.

Watkins added a 6-yard scoring run in the third quarter, which was followed by Simpson's 2-point conversion run. Simpson's second touchdown run of the game, from 2 yards out, made it 27-0 with 8:18 to play.

The Cougars also got a safety on a blocked punt which rolled out of the end zone with 1:27 to play.

The Cougars held Northland to (minus)-10 yards of offense and just three first downs. The shutout was Beechcroft's seventh of the season.

"That set a school record," Dunlap said. "In the big games, in the playoff games, you win with defense."

The Vikings' cause also was hampered by an inadvertent whistle early in the game that negated a potentially long run.

"You've got to keep playing," Northland coach Kevin Tooson said of the play. "We played our worst game of the season, for whatever reason."

Northland finished 4-6 and 4-3.

"Our play is not matching our talent level, and until we can find a way to do that, we're going to continue to be 4-6, 5-5, 6-4," Tooson said.
Now, Beechcroft turns its attention to the postseason.

"We're excited. Now, we have to wait and see whom we play," Dunlap said. "We'll watch scores and know who we'll have to go after."