By JOSH FRYE
Lighting, rain and pop-up thunderstorms did little to dampen Northview High’s homecoming. The Chiefs gradually piled on the points en route to a 52-30 win over the Walton Braves during a literally electrifying contest.
Jayden Jackson and Trent Peebles combined for 430 rushing yards and six touchdowns to lead the home team’s offense. Jackson averaged 19.5 yards a carry and ended the night with 198 yards and four touchdowns. Peebles added 232 yards and two touchdowns, with three other scores reportedly wiped out by penalties.
Jaheem Durant led the Chiefs defense with a sack and two tackles for a loss.
The start of the contest was delayed as thunderstorms and heavy rain showers wreaked chaos on the stadium. Fans were escorted to the school gym to wait out the approaching storm. Homecoming activities were conducted inside, and the game started roughly 45 minutes late.
WHS kicked off the scoring with a 25-yard field goal during the first quarter, taking an early 3-0 lead. A few plays later, Peebles dashed into the endzone, putting the Chiefs on top, 6-3.
NHS kept the ball traveling throughout the first and second quarters. During the second quarter, quarterback Ben Wilson connected on a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jackson, putting NHS ahead 13-3. With just under five minutes left in the half, Jackson struck again, dashing into the endzone on a 5-yard run, and NHS led 19-3.
Jackson continued the scoring strike, adding another six points on his third touchdown of the night with 16 seconds left in the half.
Peebles tacked on two points to Jackson’s score, and the Chiefs sent the Braves into the locker room to reapply their warpaint for the second half, which didn’t come soon as storms moved back into the area, blacking out the stadium, and Gulf Power crews worked to remove a fallen tree from transmission lines and restore power.
After waiting nearly an hour, the teams retook the field for the second half, with the band, cheerleaders and most of the fans missing. Despite the quieter atmosphere, the sound of pads hitting helmets continued.
Walton opened the third quarter with a kickoff to Northview that resulted in a Braves fumble recovery that helped cut the lead to 27-10.
With just over nine minutes left to play in the third quarter, Walton forced another fumble which set up a 22-yard touchdown pass that shortened the scoreboard gap to 27-17.
The touchdown gave hope to the visiting team, but NHS quickly shut down those hopes with 19 unanswered points.
With a 42-23 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, Walton attempted a late rally but was routed, despite scoring once more, as Jackson scored for a fourth time on a 54-yard carry into the endzone. Jackson’s quadruple scoring night was followed up with a successful two-point conversion, and the Braves were sent packing.
With the homecoming victory, Northview improved to 4-2 on the season and is currently tied for fourth place in the FSHAA Class 1A, District 1 standings.
The Chiefs have no more home games left. They will continue the season this Friday, October 11, with a game at South Walton.