By JOSH FRYE
Jayden Jackson and Trent Peebles combined for 335 yards rushing and four touchdowns as Northview High shot down South Walton’s Seahawks 53-20 last Friday, October 11, spoiling the Seahawks’ homecoming.
South Walton came into Friday night’s matchup at 3-3, while the visiting Chiefs presented a record of 4-2. With each team in the midst of a three-game winning streak, the hunger for the win was enhanced by the impressive display of numbers each team had put up.
Going into Friday night’s contest, South Walton had outscored its opponents 102-37, while the Chiefs had outscored their opponents 197-126.
The team of Jackson and Peebles again carried the load for the NHS offense. Jackson toted the ball 16 times for 180 yards (11.3 yards per carry) and a touchdown, while Peebles lugged the ball 22 times for 155 yards (7 per carry) and three touchdowns.
The Chiefs started the game out at a slow pace, giving up an early 6-0 lead, but the SW scoring drive was answered when Peebles bulled his way in from the 4-yard-line. The extra-point attempt by Jamarkus Jefferson was blocked and Northview trailed, 7-6.
The Seahawks answered immediately, scoring on the first play of the following drive and extending their lead at the end of the first quarter to 14-6.
NHS refused to give up without a fight, though, and Peebles found the end zone for the second time of the night early in the second quarter, scoring on a 1-yard rush. A failed two-point conversion attempt left Chiefs trailing 14-12.
The Seahawks followed up with another push into the endzone, opening up their lead to 20-12.
The home team’s scoring drive proved to be the last of the game for SW, and Peebles struck for the third time on an 18-yard rush into the paint. The Chiefs missed the target on the two-point conversion again and trailed 20-18 with just over two minutes left in the half.
With seconds left and possession in the hands of Northview, Ben Wilson replaced Clay Kittrell at quarterback. Wilson took the snap and with no targets open, decided to rush for the chance to give his team the lead. Wilson’s 8-yard run, along with Jefferson’s PAT kick, and the Chiefs retired the Seahawks to their halftime nest.
NHS had its first lead, 25-20, and with morale shifted in its favor, the visiting team came out swinging in the second half.
Jackson opened up the second-half scoring with 2-yard dash into the endzone that was followed up with a Jefferson kick. The Chiefs led 32-20 and never looked back.
With just over a minute left to go in the third period, they struck again with a Jaheem Durant 2-yard burst into the paint.
Jefferson’s follow-up kick put the Chiefs up 39-20, and Northview kept the points rolling during the fourth quarter. Damerion Findley scored on an 11-yard dash, and Gary Clayton broke a 41-yard run for the final touchdown.
The Chiefs finished the contest with 559 yards of total offense, the second week in a row the team has piled up 500-plus yards.
“This was a big win,” NHS head coach Derek Marshman said. “Anytime you defeat a school that is bigger than you, it is a good week. South Walton came out swinging during the first half. I was very happy with the way we responded, and the guys were very resilient.”
Marshman compared the second half of the game to stepping into a wasp’s nest.
“It was almost as if the guys were fired up like angry wasps,” he said. “We came out stinging. The defense held strong against a tough team and gave us the chance to win the game.”
Kittrell, who started the game at quarterback, was the defensive leader for the Chiefs during the second half, recording three tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. Logan Bryan tallied five solo tackles, and Jackson had a tackle for a loss and an interception.
Northview improved to 5-2 with the win and will enjoy a much-needed week off before hitting the road to face Chipley (1-6) on Friday, October 25.
“We are not going to worry about Chipley right now,” Marshman said. “We are going to focus on us and not give so much emphasis into worrying about the other team. We are going to worry about what we can do to continue to improve.”