After spending the week dealing with the shock of a blown 20-point second half lead last week and a stunning one point loss to Norland, the Northwestern Bulls were in no mood to horse around with the Jackson Generals on Friday night.
And that was definitely the case as Northwestern, looking to officially lock up the overall No. 1 seed in Region 4-6A heading into next week’s playoffs, did so resoundingly as the Bulls turned in a decisive 40-0 beat down of Jackson (4-5) in the annual Soul Bowl at Traz Powell Stadium.
In a sloppy first half that took over 90 minutes to play and saw head coach Max Edwards get ejected from the game for, of all things, an equipment violation on one of his players, Northwestern (7-2) scored at will. Quarterback Tutu Atwell threw touchdown passes of 38 yards to Nigel Behel, 39 to Kiaryn Davis and 35 to Quavon Beckford as the Bulls led 33-0 midway through the second quarter.
Now everything lays out perfectly for the Bulls as it appears that Norland, despite its big win last week, will not jump out of the No. 8 seed in Region 4-6A, thus a Norland/Northwestern rematch would appear to be on the horizon in a first round playoff game next Friday night at Traz Powell.
“Tonight was important and felt good to get a great win because we had to come out here and show everyone what Bulls football was all about.” said Atwell who finished his short night 4-of-5 for 115 yards and the three touchdowns. “We fell short and took Norland lightly last week but that won’t happen next week. We’ll be ready to go and we’re looking forward to getting another shot at them. It’ll be a different story.”
Northwestern coaches didn’t even bother waiting until the first half was over before they started emptying the bench as Atwell came out of the game midway through the second quarter and the Bulls up 33-0. An Aaron Louis one yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half got the score to 40-0 allowing things to go to a running clock at the start of the second half.
Much to his shock Edwards found himself headed to the locker room early in the second quarter where he would remain for the remainder of the contest.
“An equipment violation, a religious chain that the ref said he saw on one of the kids, I’ve never had anything like this ever happen to be before,” said Edwards who isn’t sure if he is going to have to sit out next week’s Norland game. “I’m hoping that won’t be the case.”
But his team was already well out in front in the game when Edwards was tossed and got to see enough of what he needed to see from his players.
“I think they definitely needed to come out here tonight and get the taste of that Norland loss out of their mouths,” said Edwards. "I think they learned that they can’t take any opponent or any lead for granted and that’s what happened in the second half. They thought it was wrapped up and Coach (Norland head coach Darryle) Heidleburg and those kids did a great job of coming back and beating us. And it looks like we’re going to get them again next week and our kids better be ready because trust me, Norland will be ready to go again and we better be ready to meet that challenge.”
“The Norland loss definitely humbled us,” said safety and University of Florida commit Divaad Wilson. “It actually probably might have helped us and allowed us to get ourselves refocused because we definitely came out tonight and took care of business.”