Knights hand Panthers first loss of the year

Published 11:48 pm Friday, September 16, 2016

WILLIAMSTON — It was a scary scene as Jacob Boyd was blindsided during an interception return in the second quarter of Northside’s game at Riverside on Friday night.

Boyd was carted off, but his Panthers responded to the incident as best they could. On the first play once the game resumed, quarterback Jackson Midgette ripped off a 39-yard touchdown run.

However, Northside ultimately suffered its first defeat of the season. Riverside’s aerial assault proved too much as the Knights cruised to a 61-14 win.

“He’s fine. They’re just running some preliminary tests, but he’ll be fine from what I hear,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “(Midgette’s touchdown) was really cool. You answer back and (Midgette) gave him a high five in the ambulance. That was a high point for us. We didn’t have many, but that was a high point.”

Quarterback Brandon Beach threw for four touchdowns and ran in another. Do-it-all athlete Markel Freeman hauled in three of those scores and threw for two of his own as Riverside improved to 4-0.

“We were just trying to keep the big play from happening,” Boyd said. “With their speed, and the kid had a good arm, they just kept running and running on the edge. We put everyone in we had and tried everything they could. They had a good football team. Hats off to them. We’ll go back. We’ve got a bye week next week. We’ll get healed up and be good for the second half of the season.”

Riverside drew first blood early on. Beach and Freeman connected for the first time on a 43-yard pass to position the Knights at the 3-yard line, allowing Jahkee Cooper to punch in the game’s first score.
Northside’s offense stalled out its first time out. The Panthers were pinned inside their own 5-yard line. Tyrece Taylor picked up eight yards, but Jackson Midgette’s run on third-and-1 came up short.
Beach doubled Riverside’s advantage with 2:24 remaining in the opening period. This time the 6-foot-3 signal caller hooked up with Jadakis Bonds on a 43-yard strike.
Northside went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, but got a spark of momentum when Riverside fumbled the ball away on the last play of the first quarter. The Panthers took over at the 39-yard line, and Midgette ran it in on the first play of the second. James Barrow punched in the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 14-8 with 11:38 left before halftime.
The surge didn’t last long as Bonds took a screen pass 42 yards to the house shortly thereafter, restoring Riverside’s two-possession lead. Northside again went three-and-out on its next drive.

“We just couldn’t move the ball,” Boyd said. “We couldn’t do anything with their front. We tried our read stuff. We tried sweeps. We tried about everything in our playbook. They were so quick, we couldn’t do anything on the outside and we couldn’t do anything on the inside. They kind of outmanned us.

“They’ve got a good football team and I’m not taking anything from them. We’ve got a good football team, but we weren’t there tonight.”
Beach and Freeman proceeded to connect on back-to-back touchdowns. Freeman, who stands 6-foot-6, had no problem exploiting Northside’s secondary. He scored on the first possession of consecutive drives — the first with a 75-yard catch and the second on a 40-yard snare.

Riverside added to its lead in the second half. Beach hit Bonds on a 37-yard touchdown in the third to push the Knights’ lead to 55-14. They outgained the Panthers 474-148 by the end of the third quarter.

Northside, with nothing to lose, dug deep into its playbook in the fourth. A trick play saw Parker Boyd complete a pass to Midgette, but the Panthers still couldn’t find anything.

Riverside capped off the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run by Beach in the fourth.

Northside drops to 4-1 on the season and will be off next week. Its non-conference finale at home against North Pitt looms the following week.