Coming off a district loss to Carol City, Northwestern was in need of a spark.
Running back Darius Tice provided that when he ran off left tackle and sprinted 72 yards to the end zone with 2:50 remaining to score the only touchdown in a 7-0 Bulls win over Southridge on Thursday night at Traz Powell Stadium.
“I thought he was going to break several of them,” Northwestern coach Stephen Field said. “A lot of times him and [James] Grant got into the open field and just weren’t able to hit that home run speed.”
With Fabian Johnson, one-third of Northwestern’s running back trio, sidelined, the Bulls were looking for big games from Tice and Grant. Tice had 189 rushing yards on 22 carries, including the game-winning score, and Grant gained 71 yards on his nine carries.
Southridge kicker Justin Deloso missed a 19-yard field-goal attempt on the Spartans’ drive before Tice’s long run. Northwestern kicker Reben Piraqvive went 0 for 2 on field-goal tries himself, failing to connect on a first-half 22-yarder and then getting a 38-yard, fourth-quarter attempt blocked by Lamar Robbins.
While Northwestern barely got the win, it was a game of missed opportunities for the Bulls (4-1, 0-1 District 16-6A).
They outgained Southridge (1-4, 0-1 District 16-8A) 269-3 on the ground, counting sacks as rushing attempts, dominating time of possession and field position throughout, but could not convert their red-zone opportunities into points. They came up empty on all six trips into the red zone.
“The one thing about us is we always talk about adversity and battling back,” Field said. “It wasn’t easy.”
Northwestern turned the ball over three times, twice on fumbles and once on a third-quarter interception in the end zone by Randi Readon.
But the Bulls defense kept Southridge in check. It sacked quarterback Troy Cook five times, intercepted him once and held the Spartans offense to 98 total yards.
It marked the fourth consecutive loss for Southridge, a team that appeared to have so much promise in the preseason.
The Spartans will look to bounce back against district foe Palmetto. Northwestern has a bye before a meeting with Columbus.
• Booker T. Washington 53, Edison 0: Quarterback Treon Harris and No. 2 Booker T. Washington were essentially flawless in the win over Miami Edison at Curtis Park.
Harris was 8-of-8 passing for 200 yards and four touchdowns as Booker T. (4-1, 1-0 District 8-4A) rolled up 426 yards of total offense.
“We take pride in our passing,” Harris said. “Seven-on-seven teaches us how to read the zone, and our receivers run good routes.”
Harris threw touchdown passes to three different receivers in the first half, as the Tornadoes raced to a commanding 39-0 lead.
Harris hit Nicholas Norris from 54 yards out in the first quarter.
He connected with Deltron Hopkins on a 14-yard scoring pass 2:32 into the second and hooked up with Lamar Parker on 50-yard pass.
He hit Parker again on his first attempt of the second half on a 42-yard scoring strike.
Parker caught five passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Franklin Labady ran for 60 yards and passed for 91, but Edison fell to 0-3 overall, 0-1 in the district.
• South Dade 35, South Miami 2: South Dade coach Nathaniel Hudson called the Buccaneers’ victory over nondistrict opponent South Miami a statement.
His team jumped out to a 21-0 lead by halftime on two quick strikes through the air and junior running back Deion Betts’ 1-yard score at Harris Field.
Senior Demarcus Beaufort outjumped a defender on senior Bryant Stewart’s pass on the second play of South Dade’s second drive for a 35-yard touchdown.
When the Cobras (2-2) failed to convert a fake punt on the ensuing possession, junior Antwan Cordy’s strike found wide-open junior C.J. Worton for a 44-yard touchdown on the next play.
Worton scored again on a 55-yard touchdown from Stewart with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter, which came on the second play of the drive.
Junior running back Keenan Schneider ran 11 yards into the end zone to cap the scoring for the Buccaneers (4-1) with just under 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and that set up a running clock.
South Miami’s only score came on a safety.
CHRISTINA DE NICOLA