Marslender’s late touchdown beats Jones Senior

Published 12:10 am Saturday, October 22, 2016


Kinston Free Press


TRENTON — For the second time this week, Jones Senior faced a double-digit deficit at halftime.

While the Trojans battled back to tie, the magic from Tuesday at Southside couldn’t carry on from Friday.

Matthew Marslender’s 43-yard touchdown run with 40.4 seconds to play became the difference as Northside won 20-12, spoiling Jones Senior’s homecoming. The Trojans used a big third quarter to fight back, but couldn’t come from behind a second time after recovering from a 24-6 halftime deficit three days prior to beat Southside 36-30.

“Our kids are resilient, and we were able to get a late score on a great read (by Marslender),” Panthers coach Keith Boyd said.

Neither team could get anything going in the first two possessions, with each offense with a turnover and three-and-out. After Jones Senior turned the ball over on downs with its third possession, Northside advanced to the Trojans’ 2, but on fourth down, a penalty forced the Panthers back to the 7 and Chris Slade was dropped for a 4-yard loss.

Jones Senior couldn’t capitalize on the big stop and one play after punting, Jackson Midgette made the Trojans pay with a 37-yard touchdown to put Northside up 6-0 early in the second. Midgette appeared to be stopped for a loss, but reversed field for the score.

The Panthers would add to their lead on the ensuing possession when Kenan Wilkinson scored from 22 yards out on a double reverse with 2:11 to go in the first half.

The Trojans were outgained 208 to minus-6 in the first half, but came out firing in the third quarter. After Jones Senior forced a punt, A.J. Taylor accounted for all 72 yards of a six-play drive, ending with a short pass to Josh Jones, who took it 32 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead in half midway through the third. The Trojans forced another punt and two plays later, Jones found a streaking Malik Brooks, who outraced the defense and finished the 80-yard connection in the end zone to tie the game. Jones would recover a fumble on the Panthers’ next possession, but the Trojans offense — which racked up 174 yards in the third — stalled, and the team turned the ball over on downs with 11:43 remaining in the contest.

Northside looked to take advantage, with Chris Slade converting two third downs with 29-yard runs, eventually getting the Panthers to the 22. From there, the Jones Senior defense stiffened, and Malik Black forced a fumble, which was recovered by Jones with 4:36 remaining.

Jones Senior would go three-and-out and Northside would follow. Two plays after the Trojans’ next punt, Marslender faked a pitch and raced toward the end zone. James Barrow’s ensuing 2-point conversion put the Panthers up 20-12.

“The outside linebacker went for the pitch and the linebackers tried to scrape, but I was gone by then,” Marslender said.

Rasheed Cox took the ensuing kickoff to the Jones Senior 45 and a 15-yard run by Taylor helped the Trojans make it to the Northside 40, but two incomplete passes ended the game.