By Nick DukeSeptember 11, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Sept. 13, 2013) -- The Northside Patriots were able to overcome a slow start Thursday to pull away from Jordan in the second half and pick up a 26-8 victory.
"We preach for them to play as a team and stick together," said Morgan Ingram, Northside head coach. "We tell them they can't let one play dictate the next play, so they knew they couldn't let the first half dictate the second half. They knew that if we did things the right way, we'd come out on top."
Northside's defense came up with several key stops, allowing just eight points despite Jordan holding the ball for more than 35 minutes and making six trips into Northside territory and three trips inside the Northside 20-yard line.
"Our defense has been great for two weeks," Ingram said. "There were a few third down conversions we allowed that we need to look at and see what Jordan did to us, but overall I though they played real well."
After a scoreless first quarter, Northside got on the board first with a 77-yard touchdown run from quarterback Jonathan Karastury. An extra point from Nathan Robertson made it 7-0 in favor of the Patriots.
Jordan was able to answer, however, going on a 12-play, 52-yard drive that saw the Red Jackets convert two fourth downs, including a 3-yard touchdown run by William Harris on fourth-and-1 from the Northside 3-yard line. The extra point was no good, making the score 7-6 with 3:06 left in the first half.
Northside drove to the Jordan 7-yard line with 13 seconds left in the half and lined up for a 24-yard field goal try by Robertson.
The kick was blocked, however, and Jordan had an opportunity to pick up the blocked kick and return it for a touchdown, but the Jordan defender bobbled the ball as he attempted to pick it up and instead fell on the ball for a recovery at the Jordan 14.
Northside's defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half and used a 21-yard punt return from Kaden Freeman to set up the Patriot offense with a first down at the Jordan 29-yard line.
Three plays later, Larry Gilyard scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to put Northside up 13-6. The extra point attempt was blocked.
Later in the quarter, Kalen Watts would put the Patriots back on the scoreboard, running 49 yards for a score after a short punt by Jordan gave the Patriots the ball in good field position.
Jordan answered by going on an 18-play drive that took up 7:42. Facing a fourth down and goal from the Northside 1-yard line, Harris was stopped on a quarterback keeper and Northside took over in the shadow of its own goalposts.
On the Patriots' first play of the drive, Karastury was tackled in the end zone for a safety, making the score 20-8.
On the ensuing drive, Harris' pass on second-and-22 was intercepted by Freeman and returned to the Jordan 14.
Two plays later, Watts scored the final points of the game on a 14-yard run to put the Patriots up 26-8.
"We struggled a little bit offensively earlier, but we finally put a few things together there in the second half and were able to score on a couple of long runs," Ingram said. "Jordan's a much-improved team. I'm very impressed with their physicality and their size. … They played a good game, but luckily we were able to make a couple more plays."
Karastury led Northside on the ground, carrying eight times for 98 yards and a touchdown. Watts carried the ball seven times for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Freeman finished with two interceptions to go along with his key punt return.
For Jordan, Harris threw for 159 yards and two interceptions and completed 16 of his 33 attempts.
With the win, Northside improves to 1-1 while Jordan is now 0-2.
Ingram said the win was big for his team's confidence.
"It's always easier to work on things after a victory than it is after a loss, so we're just going to move forward and work on things in all aspects of the game," he said.
Northside will be back in action Friday when it takes on Houston County for homecoming at 7:30 p.m. at Kinnett Stadium.