Penalties cost Northside on Homecoming

Published 12:35 am Saturday, September 29, 2018

PINETOWN — Costly penalties and an untimely fumble doomed Northside on Homecoming, as the Panthers fell to Manteo tonight, 20-7, for their third-consecutive loss after opening the season with a three-game win streak.

“Just too many penalties, especially on offense. Not picking up a blitz here and there. We’ve got some young kids in the backfield that need to start growing up and we just still are making mistakes that we should not be making,” Northside head coach Keith Boyd said. “At times we looked good on offense. It’s just we’d get an explosive play that we’ve been missing all year, we finally get a few of them and every one of them gets called back because of penalties. Until we cut that out we’re not going to score any points.”

With starting quarterback Johnathan Clark and fellow starter Tyshawn Roberson watching from the sidelines after sustaining minor injuries in a car accident, Northside (3-3, 0-1 1A Coastal Plains Conference) didn’t do itself any favors with the sloppy mistakes it committed throughout the game. The most damaging miscues came in the fourth quarter, allowing Manteo (3-3, 0-0 1A Albemarle Conference) to extend and maintain its lead.

Early in the fourth and trailing 14-7, the Panthers were desperate to get some offense going to get themselves back in the game. Zachariah Green, in at QB for Clark, was fighting for extra yardage to convert on third and 12 and coughed up the ball, gifting it to Manteo at Northside’s 41. The Redskins wasted little time, giving the ball to Claveon Rice on a reverse and the diminutive running back ran it all the way to the Northside 10. Tyler Day ended up scoring from five yards out to give Manteo a 20-7 lead with 7:18 left in the game.

Green looked like he made up for his mistake on Northside’s next play from scrimmage. The junior rumbled 74 yards to the end zone, but a block in the back brought the play all the way back, taking away the momentum the Panthers seemingly just built. What looked like a scoring drive turned into a three-and-out.

Northside’s defense locked down, forcing Manteo to punt after three plays, but time was running out, with less than six minutes left on the clock. A 65-yard screen pass to Tyler Modlin looked to put the Panthers in position to score and create some late drama. But another penalty, holding this time, made it first and 20, and Northside couldn’t convert, turning the ball over on downs, allowing Manteo to kneel the ball several times to run out the clock.

It was the Panthers that actually struck first tonight, scoring on the game’s opening drive. A 51-yard scamper by Modlin put Northside at the Manteo 20, and James Gorham busted out a 17-yard run the next play. That set up Green to score from three yards out.

Manteo took some time to heat up offensively, turning the ball over on downs on its first drive. It was one of several occasions when the Northside defense stood firm on the night, an improvement from the last couple of games for Boyd’s defense.

“Defensive effort I thought was there, we played much better on that side of the football,” Boyd said. “We got back and started sticking to our assignments and not running all over the field. The kids stuck with the game plan on defense and they executed really well. I’m not saying we don’t have work to do there.”

Starting their second possession on Northside’s 43 gave the Redskins the boost they needed to get going. A 23-yard catch by Eric Bailey on fourth and 10 put Manteo at the Northside 9 as the clock ran out for the first quarter. Three plays later, Rice plunged into the end zone from four yards out to even the score at 7-7 with 10:31 remaining in the second.

Manteo came out of the halftime break ready to go, as Rice took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage and ran 35 yards to the Northside 36. A horse collar penalty against the Panthers pushed Manteo to the 21. The Northside defense tried to hold strong, but Manteo quarterback Bryson Sawyer eventually scored on a one-yard plunge, making the score 14-7 with 8:12 left in the third.

The Panthers won’t have much time to lick their wounds, as they next play at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Pamlico County, making up a game that was missed due to Hurricane Florence.