By MCKENNA SIMMONS
News Sports Writer
The Northview Chiefs took home another victory this past Friday night, December 2, in Bratt for their thirteenth straight win of the season. They battled hard all night long against the Union County Tigers, with the final score being 21-11. It is safe to say that this was the closest and most challenging game thus far. Now, they will be on the road to the Florida 1R State Championship this Saturday in Tallahassee.
Starting off Friday’s game, the Chiefs received the ball on kick off. Northview was not able to score on that possession due to the Tigers’ defense. Northview’s Jamarkus Jefferson sacked the Tigers’ quarterback on fourth down, preventing them from scoring. Neither team was able to score in the first quarter of the game, which was a first for the Chiefs.
Jefferson ran the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the night. With a good kick from Brandon Ferguson, the Chiefs were up 7-0 early on in the second quarter. Northview’s defense recovered a fumble, getting the ball back for the Chiefs. Jefferson ran it into the end zone yet again for another touchdown for the Chiefs. The extra point by Ferguson was good, and Northview was up 14-0.
The next time Union County had possession of the ball, they kicked a field goal on fourth down, making the score 14-3. The Chiefs were not able to score the next time they had the ball, so the Tigers were back on offense. Joe Wright for the Chiefs tipped a pass thrown by the Tigers’ quarterback, making it harder for Union County to get a first down. Attempting to throw another pass, the Union County quarterback passed it down field; however, Northview’s Wyatt Scruggs intercepted the ball and ran it all the way down to the 45-yard line.
In the third quarter, neither team was able to score, but in the fourth and final quarter of the game, play got intense. With Union County in the red zone, they quickly scored, bringing the score closer at 14-11. With a little over a minute in the game to go, on fourth down with 8 yards to go, Northview’s quarterback Kaden Odom threw a game winning pass to Jefferson for a touchdown, earning their victory for the night. With a good kick from Ferguson, the Chiefs sealed their ticket to the state championship with that pass.
There were hundreds of fans for both teams gathered to watch this semifinal game. Northview has not been to the state championship in exactly 10 years, and they have never, in school history, been undefeated.
Defensive coordinator Jace Gandy said, “Super proud of our guys, they just battled. We knew it was gonna be a tough game, and we had a couple guys go down. I thought we had a really good defensive game. Offense made mega plays down the stretch. Our big players stepped up in key moments. I’m super proud of our team and can’t wait for next Saturday for an opportunity to play in the State Championship.”
Head coach Wesley Summerford said, “I’m just extremely proud of our kids and coaches. One of our main mottos is to persevere; the game basically defined that. I can’t say enough about our kids and coaches and program, they’re the ones who make it.”
Quarterback Kaden Odom added, “I feel like we had some adversity that we had to play through all night long. We had a couple key guys go down, and we still got the job done. I am so proud of the group of guys and how far we have come as a team. I wouldn’t trade these players or coaches for any other. Now we have to finish the job Saturday!”
Senior and tight end Aiden Broadhead said, “Last night was the toughest game we’ve played, especially with two of our senior starters injured. We came out and showed that we worked harder than them and we worked together. It felt amazing to seal the ticket to state with the people I’ve grown up playing with.”
It was an incredible win for the Chiefs, unlike any other this season. Now they will head to Tallahassee to play at Gene Cox Stadium for the State Championship. Make sure to make the trip to watch this game, you won’t want to miss it!