By JOSH FRYE
Northview High’s Chiefs came out on the short end of a 34-26 score in a wild and woolly, back and forth, state-line rival contest against Flomaton High’s Hurricanes last Friday, August 30, on Flomaton’s home turf.
The defending Alabama Class 3A state champion Hurricanes wasted no time reaching the end zone during the first quarter and put up an early 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs responded with a Trent Peebles touchdown, but NHS missed the extra-point kick, cutting its deficit to a point at 7-6.
“We started out aggressive,” said NHS head coach Derek Marshman. “The game was an all-out battle.”
As the second period got underway, the Hurricanes responded with a scoring run from Da’quan Johnson but missed a two-point conversion and led by a 13-6 margin.
Peebles once again found the end zone on another running effort, but a two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Chiefs again trailed by a point, 13-12.
As the final 20 seconds of the half ticked away, Jayden Jackson broke away for a touchdown run, and a two-point conversion allowed NHS to retire to the locker room with a 20-13 lead.
As the third period started, FHS quarterback Zeb Vickery plowed his way through the line of Chiefs defenders, followed by a successful two-point conversion that gave the Hurricanes a one-point lead, 21-20, going into the final quarter.
As an entertaining fourth period got underway, Jackson broke through with a huge touchdown run. After another failed extra-point attempt, the score showed NHS on top of Flomaton, 26-21.
Things began to go south for the Chiefs then, as they were forced to punt the ball away. FHS’s Alex Cash returned the punt to the 2-yard line before being stopped by Northview’s Keaundre Richardson.
The Hurricanes cashed in on the Cash return with a rush into the end zone on the next play. The Hurricanes failed on another two-point conversion but held the lead, 27-26.
The Chiefs fumbled on the ensuing kickoff. FHS recovered and cashed in on another touchdown run, extending the lead, 34-26.
“We had to let them score because we were out of timeouts,” said Marshman. “They were so deep down and there were no timeouts left. Our only option at that moment was to let them drive it in and then try to get it back and score with the couple of minutes that we had left.”
The only problem with the plan was that the following kickoff was also fumbled, allowing Flomaton to run out the clock to capture the win.
Jackson had 17 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns for Northview, while Peebles registered 17 carries for 121 yards and also scored two touchdowns.
“I am proud of the way the guys played,” Marshman said. “The guys were aggressive. We gave up a couple of big plays, but the guys battled through adversity and ran the football well.”
In the end, Marshman explained that special teams were the major downfall in the close loss. He stressed that there is a ton of work still to be done over the course of the next week.
The Chiefs will have a bye this week. They will host Baker High on Friday, September 13, in their first region game.