Panthers still in the hunt for a conference title

Published 11:29 pm Friday, November 1, 2013

Northside's Antonio Woods (23) scored a key touchdown during the Panthers 42-34 win over East Carteret on Friday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Northside’s Antonio Woods (23) scored a key touchdown during the Panthers 42-34 win over East Carteret on Friday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

A miraculous catch, combined with a heart-stopping kickoff return and a marathon drive helped Northside hold off East Carteret 42-34 on Friday to keep the Panthers’ Coastal Plains Conference fate in their hands.
With the win, Northside (6-4, 3-1) remains one game behind conference leaders Lejeune, who it will play on the road in next Friday’s season finale.
Though the Panthers’ dreams of garnering the division’s No. 1 seed are still alive, they were almost snuffed out as the Mariners (4-6, 1-3) nearly overcame a 36-7 fourth-quarter deficit on Friday thanks to a 242-yard, three TD performance from quarterback Brennan Lewis.
“It’s big. We were hoping to get ourselves in position in the last game of the year to play for at least a piece of the conference championship,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “For three quarters we played some really good football. … We just for some reason in the fourth quarter, we just got flat. Give credit to (East Carteret), they did a good job of adjusting.”
Northside was able to withstand a 27-point barrage in the fourth quarter thanks to some key plays earlier in the game.
The Panthers banked up a 14-0 lead in the first as Rockne Butler scored on a 24-yard run before quarterback Malik Slade knifed 21 yards through the Mariners defense to take a two score lead.
East Carteret responded with a Dominic Carter one-yard TD run early in the second, but could not hold on to that momentum as Noel Howson returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
The Panthers would pad their lead with 3.8 seconds remaining in the first half when Antonio Woods hauled in a 44-yard TD pass from Slade, beating out two defenders to the ball, for a 28-7 halftime lead.
In the third quarter Northside answered with their best drive of the game as they grinded out an 80-yard scoring drive that chewed 11 minutes off the clock and ended when Butler bounced across the goal line for a one-yard TD run and a 36-7 lead going into the final quarter.
“The kickoff return was a big moment. Then with seconds left on the clock Antonio Woods went up and made a great catch right before the half,” Boyd said. “After that we came out and made it 36-7, but then all of a sudden (East Carteret) started making some plays and we couldn’t tackle them.”
Behind the strong arm of Lewis, who threw TD passes of 42, 72 and 10 yards in the fourth, the Mariners got themselves back in the game. However, Lewis’ one mistake was picked off by Northside and set up a Dajuan Jones 42-yard TD run to beat back East Carteret.

East Carteret    0    7    0    27    —    34
Northside        14    14    8    6    —    42
                           ECHS         NHS
First downs            6           14
Rushes-yards         26-95      41-331
Comp-att-int          12-15-1        3-3
Passing yards        242            60
Fumbles-lost          1-1           2-0
Penalties-yards      3-15           3-20
Punts                  1-30           3-25
Scoring Summary
N — Rockne Butler 24 run (Butler two points), 9:17, 1st.
N — Malik Slade 21 run (Antonio Woods kick failed), 25.5, 1st.
E — Dominic Carter 1 run (kick), 10:22, 2nd.
N — Noel Howson 90 kick return (Woods kick failed), 10:08, 2nd.
N — Woods 44 pass from Slade (Butler two points), 3.8, 2nd.
N — Butler 1 run (Dajuan Jones two points), :57, 3rd.
E — Jacque Brown 47 pass from Brennan Lewis (22 two points) 11:10, 4th.
E — Ty Mason 72 pass from Lewis (kick good), 8:08, 4th.
N — Dajuan Jones 42 run (two points failed) 4;53, 4th.
E  — Mason 10 pass from Lewis (two points failed) 1:12, 4th.