Northview 49, North Forsyth 0
Northview 14 14 14 7–49
North Forsyth 0 0 0 0–0
NV: Moran 3 run (kick good), 9:30
NV: Pearson 40 pass to Biondich (kick good), 1:17
NV: Pearson 15 pass to Westbrook (kick good), 7:38
NV: Pearson 20 pass to Anderson (kick good), 0:00
NV: Phillips 64 run (kick good), 10:00
NV: Johnson 12 rush (kick good), 8:25
NV: Gunn 100 interception return (kick good), 11:07
Santa Claus arrived 104 days ahead of schedule for Northview.
"They had a lot of Christmas celebrations," North Forsyth head coach Jason Galt said. "We gift wrapped some presents for them."
Northview converted six North turnovers into 35 points and scored a back-breaking touchdown as time expired in the first half on the way to a resounding 49-0 win at Raider Valley on Friday.
"I felt like a one-legged man in a kickin’ fight," Galt said. "Any time you turn it over [six] times, you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose. Bottom line: I’ve got to coach them better."
The Titans (3-0, 2-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) had scored 83 points in their first two contests. With Arkansas State quarterback commit DJ Pearson (15-for-18, 172 yards, 3 TD) at the helm, North (0-3, 0-2) faced a stern test on defense. Combining a talented quarterback, a preseason All-State wide receiver in Matty Biondich and a bevy of speed at the skill positions with short fields was a recipe for disaster.
Northview scored on drives of 40, 66, 45, 41 and 20 yards. Nate Phillips (6 rush, 66 yards, TD) scampered untouched for a 64-yard touchdown to cap the Titans’ longest drive of the night (70 yards).
"It’s not hard for an offense to score when they only have to go 30 or 40 yards," Galt said. "Our game plan was working. We were controlling the ball and getting first downs. Then, boom, all of a sudden, we would give them the ball back."
The Raiders’ clock-chewing, run-heavy offense is ideal for protecting a lead. It is not advisable, however, for North to fall behind double-digits early.
"I wanted to score early and score often to get up on them," Northview head coach Chad Davenport said. "Here’s the thing: they’re going to try to squeeze the clock, because they want to play ball control. They need to be in the lead; if not, it’s tough on them."
The Titans, already ahead 21-0, took over at the Raiders’ 41 with 1:15 left in the second quarter. Pearson found Josh Moran for a 20-yard gain to the North 18 and scrambled for eight yards one play later. Northview was called for intentional grounding for spiking the ball out of the shotgun in an attempt to stop the clock, pushing the Titans back to the 15.
Pearson, a southpaw, took the next snap with four seconds left in the first half, rolled left and found Jair Anderson with no defender in the vicinity for a 20-yard touchdown.
"The score at the end of the half to put us up four touchdowns was huge, especially considering we were getting the ball to start the third quarter," Davenport said.
Northview scored the game-winning touchdown with 9:30 remaining in the first quarter. Titans’ linebacker Troy Sawyer recovered a fumble at the North 40 on the second play of the game. Ricci Nuckles (4 catches, 37 yards) sprung loose for a 27-yard gain on 3rd-and-3; Josh Moran (7 carries, 26 yards; 1 catch, 20 yards) plowed in out of the Wildcat formation for a 3-yard touchdown.
North mounted a response, with 21 yards on the ground from Jamal Davenport, a 15-yard catch from Colton Miller on 3rd-and-14 and an 11-yard connection from Jacob Bailey (4-for-7, 42 yards, 2 INT) to Miller on 3rd-and-10, but Bailey’s pass on 4th-and-6 from the Northview 34 fell incomplete.
Pearson marched the Titans 71 yards on four plays, finding a diving Matty Biondich (5 catches, 80 yards) down the middle for a 40-yard touchdown and a 14-point first quarter lead.
"I felt there were some things they did [defensively] that we could take advantage of," Davenport said. "We have a ton of speed on the perimeter to go with a quarterback who can sling it…we have players all over the field."
North coughed it up again at their own 45 just 2:26 later. Pearson hit Biondich for an 11-yard gain on 4th-and-10 and then found Justin Westbrook for a 15-yard score.
If the outcome remained in doubt after 24 minutes of play, Nate Phillips squashed any hopes of a North rally two minutes in to the third quarter with a 64-yard touchdown run down the left sideline.
Logan Cross blocked a Northview punt late in the third quarter that gave the Raiders their best field position of the night at the Titans’ 33. Bailey’s 10-yard completion to Miller on 3rd-and-8 took North to the Northview 21. Northview jumped offsides on 4th-and-2, giving North a 1st-and-goal.
Santa found one more gift stuck under his seat and behind some old fast food wrappers: Northview cornerback Ernest Gunn intercepted a fade route intended for Miller in the end zone and outran everyone for a 100-yard touchdown.
"As a coach, I haven’t had a loss like this in a long time – probably back to my first year as a head coach," Galt said. "It’s my own fault. Even when you’ve been doing this as long as I have, it still doesn’t get any easier."
Friday’s 49-0 final was North’s worst loss since 2006.
"We made a bunch of mistakes to put ourselves in a hole," Galt said. "We’re dealing with some adversity right now and we’re 0-3; how are we going to respond? It’s early in the season and we still have time to right the ship."