(EDITOR'S NOTE: Special thanks to Novi's Willy Mena for providing statistical information from Friday night's Plymouth-Novi game to PlymouthCantonSports.com.)
Jernarian Caldwell rushed for 267 yards and three touchdowns to lead Plymouth to a playoff-clinching 35-23 victory over Novi Friday night on the PCEP junior varsity football field.
Caldwell averaged 13.4 yards per carry and scored on runs of 41, 83 and 51 yards.
Plymouth outgained Novi, 391-238, in total yards for the contest.
The victory improved Plymouth to 6-2 and earned them a berth in the Division 1 playoffs, which kick off Oct. 30. Novi slipped to 3-5.
Plymouth led 14-0 3:14 into the game thanks to a 41-yard Caldwell scamper and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Victor Hicks to Jake Morris. Kyle Brindza tacked on both extra points -- his first of five on the night.
Novi narrowed its deficit to 14-7 with 5:59 to play in the first quarter when Justin Hopton hauled in a 39-yard TD pass from Jim Pitcher. Brett Kuhn drilled the extra point.
The hosts closed out an explosive first half when junior quarterback Victor Hicks found paydirt from 16 yards out to up the lead to 21-7.
Undaunted, Novi knotted the game at 21-21 in the first 2:16 of the second quarter when Joe Mikkelsen recovered a blocked punt in the end zone and Pitcher scored from 14 yards out on a keeper.
Plymouth regained the advantage with 5:23 left in the first half when Caldwell broke free on an 83-yard run.
Caldwell tacked on some insurance points with 3:15 to play in the third quarter when he broke free on a 51-yard TD run to make it 35-21.
Novi's final two points came on a safety with 2:34 on the clock.
Twenty-six flags were thrown in the contest. Plymouth was whistled for 17 infractions totaling 163 yards while Novi was pushed back by penalties nine times for 52 yards.
Hicks was solid under center again for Plymouth, completing 3-of-8 passes for 65 yards and a TD. He also ran 11 times for 57 yards.
Brennen Beyer (36 yards), Morris (19 yards) and Ryan Barrera (10 yards) were the beneficiaries of Hicks' spirals.
Pitcher picked up 101 yards on 28 carries to lead Novi. He also completed 6-of-20 throws for 104 yards. Hopton and Mike Brant each caught two passes.
Daryl Cohn led the Plymouth defense with 10 tackles. Tony Rhodes had eight stops while Tyler Goble and Beyer had seven each. Jamie Emminger also played well, recording six tackles, one for a loss.
Tim Kolis and Krister Engja led Novi with seven tackles each.