High School Sports

Northwestern holds off Carol City in defensive battle in front of big crowd at Traz

They might not be in the same district anymore, or even the same classification for that matter. But that doesn’t mean Northwestern and Carol City didn’t go at it with the same intensity they have for years when they squared off at Traz Powell Stadium on Thursday night.

If it was offense you were looking for, you would’ve had to look somewhere else as defense, on both sides, was the name of the game on this night.

But in the end, it was Northwestern that was able to scratch out just a little bit of offense en route to a 10-0 victory over the Chiefs before a big crowd.

The game was halted with 6:18 left because of lightning. After a 30-minute wait and the weather had not cleared, both principals met and the game was called.

After a first quarter that saw each team manage just one first down, Northwestern broke through with what turned out to be the only touchdown of he game. Bulls running back Nathaniel Noel capped off an eight-play, 64-yard drive when he went over from 2 yards out 8:45 before halftime.

The drive was aided by a dead ball personal foul on the Chiefs along with a face-mask penalty.

It looked like the Bulls would add to that lead when they took the second-half kickoff and marched from their own 37 to the Carol City 8. But a holding penalty followed by a 15-yard sack eventually led to a punt, which wound up going over Kahlil Brantley’s head, giving the Chiefs the ball at the Northwestern 40.

Four plays later, thanks to a 23-yard run by Katravis Geter, the Chiefs biggest offensive play of the night, Carol City had a fourth-and-4 at the Bulls’ 11. A middle screen looked like the perfect call as Earl Pope III was wide open over the middle and would’ve walked into the end zone. But Northwestern defensive end Nathan Holloway managed to get a piece of the ball and deflected it, and the Bulls took over.

A 14-yard punt by the Bulls on the next series set the Chiefs up at the 21, and one play later they had a first-and-goal at the 6. But after stuffing Geter for a 2-yard loss, they forced three consecutive incomplete passes by quarterback Keyone Jenkins, and the Northwestern defense had bowed up again.

A 71-yard pass play from Northwestern quarterback Taron Dickson to Marcus Fleming on the next series set the Bulls up on the Carol City 25. When the Bulls could go no further, placekicker Leo Zuazo was sent out to try a 41-yard field goal and nailed it with 9:06 left.

Even though a roughing-the-kicker penalty would’ve given the Bulls a first down, coach Max Edwards, knowing how well his defense was playing, chose to decline the penalty and keep the points up on the board.