Southside stops Jags late for second-round win

Published 11:43 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

SHAKE IT OFF: Lawrence Brown shakes off a Northampton County defender as he closes in on the end zone. He scored two touchdowns in Southside’s second-round win.

SHAKE IT OFF: Lawrence Brown shakes off a Northampton County defender as he closes in on the end zone. He scored two touchdowns in Southside’s second-round win.

CHOCOWINITY — Northampton County had the last-minute win in sight. The Jaguars drove down into the red zone, thanks to some big runs by superstar Ja’Quan Buffaloe. Montrell Squire was running the ball up the middle when Joe Myers stripped him. The ball flew forward right into the hands of Kyle Hill.

Southside took over, leading 40-36. There was still about a minute left to play, so the Seahawks needed a first down to truly secure the win. They couldn’t get it, though, and ended up punting the ball away. The Jags were backed up to their own 35-yard line and had enough time to take a couple of shots down field, but nothing connected.

“There was a deep breath (on the sideline),” said head coach Jeff Carrow. “But we needed to get a first down and we didn’t do it. We had to punt and then play defense again. The defense didn’t break. We made plays when we needed to.”

The closing moments of the game were a physical manifestation of Carrow’s “whatever it takes” mantra. It came down to the wire, but the Seahawks did what they needed to and finished with the victory.

The win takes the No. 2 Seahawks (11-1) to a Black Friday, third-round meeting with No. 11 North Edgecombe. It also marks the end of the road for the Jaguars (7-6).

Mistakes on Northampton’s part proved costly. The Jags had two other turnovers in the game that stifled an otherwise efficient offense. They amassed 381 yards of offense.

“I hate it for the guys that they came up short,” said Jags coach George Privott. “They fought so hard this whole game. It was a tough loss, but hats off to coach Carrow and his staff. They did what they needed to do and we made too many mistakes to pull this one off. Hats off to them. I hope they go all the way.”

Northampton, leading 36-34, turned the ball over on downs near midfield late in the third quarter. The Seahawks took just two plays to score what proved to be the decisive touchdown. Brandon Sullivan ripped off a long run to set his side up in the red zone. Matt Baxter hit pay dirt via a 14-yard run on the next play.

Southside had a chance to pull away a bit in the fourth quarter. Baxter moved the chains and got inside the 10-yard line with a catch on fourth-and-10. A goal line stand by the visitors saw the Seahawks turn the ball over on downs.

The Jags fired first in the shootout. Squire ran 37 yards for a touchdown that put them ahead less than two minutes into the contest. They stayed aggressive and attempted an onside kick recovery on the ensuing kickoff, but it didn’t pan out.

“I had a sneaking suspicion,” Carrow said of the back-and-forth nature of the game. “They play in a really tough conference. They’re really well coached. Hats off to their head coach. They do an excellent job.”

Southside struggled a bit against Northampton’s stout rush defense, but was still able to answer. Baxter scored from seven yards out and Sullivan ran in the two-point conversion to put the home side ahead 8-6 in the first quarter.

“Offensively, they gave us a new front. They gave us different fronts we hadn’t seen all year,” Carrow said. “They surprised us there. They backed the nose guard off the ball and gave us a funky look. We made some adjustments and it paid off.”

The two teams traded touchdowns throughout the first half. Buffaloe hauled in a screen pass and took it 56 yards to the house to tie the game at 28 apiece. The Seahawks got the ball back with 2:45 to play in the first half. They had the chance to strike again and then receive the opening kickoff of the second half.

Instead, Johnny Sullivan threw a shallow ball into the hands of Squire. Cody Modlin erased the mistake with an interception of his own just a few plays later.

Baxter spearheaded the offensive effort for Southside. He ran for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. Lawrence Brown added another 125 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He also hauled in a touchdown from Sullivan.

“They ran the ball hard. They’re seniors and they should do that,” Carrow said. “We’ve got senior linemen, too. They don’t get anything without the other guys. I want to give some credit to our coaching staff. They made some adjustments offensively and defensively.”

Southside will host North Edgecombe in its third-round contest. A game time has not been determined yet.