“Bull Nation is back!” That was the battle cry that could be heard on Monday night at Traz Powell Stadium as the Northwestern football team marched off to their busses.
After a one-year hiatus from the postseason, the Bulls are back in the playoffs, that following their 6-0 victory over Carol City in the second quarter of a three-team tiebreaker for one runner-up spot in District 16-6A. Northwestern will travel to Hallandale on Nov.14 to take on the Chargers who are currently 9-0.
The winning score came when quarterback Tu Tu Atwell dropped back and found Kymon Knight in the corner of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 2:28 left. The score came just two plays after Carol City return man Leon Brown tried to field a one-hop punt but muffed it, allowing Pelote Marlon to fall on the loose ball at the Chiefs 26.
“We’re bringing that Bull pride back,” shouted first-year Northwestern coach Eddie Brown. “I’m so proud to be the coach of these kids. Our key tonight was we wanted to do whatever we needed to do to win. I felt like it was our job as coaches to do the best job we could to motivate our kids to play hard, and our kids responded. We lost four straight games at one point and could’ve laid down, but they didn’t and that to me is character with a capital ‘C.’”
With five minutes to go it looked like the Chiefs were about to take the lead when Johntae Powell lined up for a short 21-yard field goal. He made it, but the whistles blew as the Bulls were called for offsides, forcing another kick. Sure enough, Patrick Banks surged through the line for the Bulls and blocked it.
Four plays later, the Bulls punted, setting the stage for Marlon’s recovery of the muffed punt.
“I saw the defender and he was flat-footed so I knew I had to go at him,” said Atwell of the winning touchdown pass. “I just threw it for the pylon in the corner and my receiver just made the play. We always had the confidence that we could get it done and get back to the playoffs.”
Carol City had the chance to play Northwestern after the Chiefs had pulled out a 6-0 win in a first-quarter contest, knocking off Norland and eliminating the Vikings from the playoffs.
Things were a disaster from the start for Norland when Elliot Miller fumbled the opening kickoff, allowing Carol City’s Camron Davis to recover. Six plays later, Darnell Rolle scored from 4 yards out for the touchdown with 9:49 left. The extra point was blocked.
The Vikings made it to the Carol City 35 with 30 seconds left, but then Micoley Render sacked Norland quarterback Rodrick Robinson for a 10-yard loss. With no timeouts, the Vikings had to rush to the line to get one last desperation play off, but Robinson fumbled the snap from the shotgun and the Chiefs recovered to end it.