‘Canes storm past Northside in regular-season finale

Published 12:18 am Saturday, November 4, 2017

PINETOWN — Northside had plenty to fight for when it hosted Pamlico County in its final regular-season game. The Panthers honored their seniors. They were contending for second place in the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference and the right to host a first-round playoff game.

A flat effort was one of the last things that coach Keith Boyd expected with so much on the line. That’s what he got, though, as the Hurricanes scored four times in the second quarter to storm past Northside, 42-6.

“I thought we were right where we needed to be. We acted like we were into it and excited,” Boyd said. “I don’t have any answers for what happened. We just went out there and played as flat as I’ve ever seen the team.”

During the post-game huddle, Boyd explained a correlation between effort in practice and results on the field. He said it was one of the worse weeks in terms of practice participation.

His message was clear: another week like that would be the last week of the season.

“The only good thing from tonight is it’s something you can learn from,” Boyd explained. “Soak it in and understand what it takes to get back on track. Go back. See where the state puts us. We’ll line up, do the best we can, and hopefully have more effort than we did tonight.”

WATCH: Northside coach Keith Boyd discusses the loss

Everything that could go wrong did in the second period. Sincere Gibbs grabbed a 50-yard pass from Lamont Murray early in the quarter to put Pamlico County in the red zone. The Hurricanes crept closer to the goal line until George Jones finally punched in a 2-yard touchdown.

It pushed the Hurricanes’ lead to 14-0 less than two minutes into the second. Northside’s offense only gave the defense three plays worth of rest before a fumble on a pitch attempt set up the visitors 31 yards from Northside’s end zone.

The Hurricanes needed just two plays to cash in. Freshman Sayvone Tutt scampered 14 yards to make it 21-0 with 7:44 left until halftime.

Northside got beaten up on its following drive. Fullback Raydarius Freeman tweaked the ankle injury he had been working through. Quarterback Matthew Marslender came off the field with a bloody nose after being brought down by his facemask.

The Panthers called on Parker Boyd to punt the ball away. This time with 70 yards to cover, Murray and Caleb Barron each ran for over 20 yards on the first two plays. Once in striking distance, Murray snuck through the middle to extend Pamlico County’s already-lopsided advantage to 28-0.

Northside took over with 2:14 left until halftime. Getting on the board would have supplied the Panthers with much-needed confidence going into the break. Instead, an aerial attempt saw a pass deflect off the fingertips of Boyd and into the hands of Gibbs, who returned the interception to Northside’s 4.

It was the worst-case scenario as Tutt scored on the next play.

“We gave us the fits. They lined up exactly where we thought they were going to line up,” Boyd said. “When you can write it, draw it on paper, walk through and everything else, if you don’t line up and get beat up front offensively and defensively, you’re not going to win.”

Hurricanes coach Torrey Nowell added: “Last week, we played a terrible ball game. We came off a bye week and we didn’t play well. We got back to doing basic stuff. Working on what we knew we needed to work on. … That’s the most important part with the team. We’ve got to take care of the little details.”

Pamlico County forced Northside three-and-out twice to begin the second half. Murray found the end zone once again to extend the deficit to 42-0 and bring about a running clock with 2:21 left.

Northside didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter. Tyree Blount helped the Panthers’ offense finally break through by rumbling for 26 yards to set up a short score by Marslender.

Northside and Pamlico County both await seeding from the North Carolina High School Sports Association. The Panthers finish in a third-place logjam as South Creek and Riverside also ended the year 3-3 in the CPC.