Defense carries Northside to victory over North Duplin

Published 1:50 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

PINETOWN — Coming into tonight’s game against North Duplin with a chip on their shoulders, the Northside Panthers rode the play of its feisty and opportunistic defense that forced six turnovers to beat the Rebels at home, 22-0.

“Going into it, we looked at the rankings and we knew everybody was picking North Duplin to come in and go out with a win,” Northside head coach Keith Boyd said. “That kind of motivated our kids and we were super stingy on defense. They (the defense) propelled us and set us up for some short field (situations) and we were able to capitalize in the second half.”

The game started off slow and filled with errors in the first half, which ended at 0-0. Northside (2-0) limited North Duplin’s (1-1) ground game. And when the Rebels did manage to move the ball in the opening half, they fumbled the ball away three times. The Panthers weren’t much better. But instead of turning the ball over, they had holding penalties called against them, stopping their drives dead in their tracks.

Northside’s Tyshawan Roberson opened the second half with a 35-yard kickoff return, which seemed to jumpstart the Panthers’ offense a bit. Northside marched down the field with a 10-play drive, which was culminated by a 1-yard touchdown run from Johnathan Clark. A two-point conversion was added by Roberson to make the score 8-0.

North Duplin followed by fumbling at its own 10-yard line, giving the ball right back to the Panthers. 6 plays later, Clark added another touchdown run, this time from three yards out. The two point conversion failed, making the score 14-0.

Northside’s final score of the night was set up by the defense as well. Outside linebacker Tyler Turner snatched a pitch to a Rebel running back out of the air and returned it to North Duplin’s five-yard line. Fred Taylor took matters into his own hands, rumbling into the end zone for a rushing touchdown and the fullback added a two-point conversion as well.

Northside’s offense put up 138 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries, but it was the defense that starred tonight. The Panthers forced the Rebels into six turnovers, five fumbles and an interception, and continued their shutout streak to open the season.

“They’re (the defense) is starting to take pride in it. They’re going out every night wanting to make sure that zero stays on the board,” Boyd said. Coach (Walt) Davis (the defensive coordinator) is doing a heck of a job, along with (defensive line) coach (Jason) Adams, to sure things up. We feel like if we can have a good run game and a very solid defense, that’s what wins.”

Northside will look to continue the win streak and shutout streak going next Friday, as the Panthers will host Columbia.