Southern keeps Northern winless
Winless Northern managed to score more points than it had in its first four games combined (24) but came up on the short end to visiting Southern 39-27 at Durham County Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Southern (2-2) rolled on the strength of its big-play capability. Quarterback Kendall Hinton threw touchdown passes of 39, 47 and 12 yards to Maurice Trowell and sneaked in for a fourth as the Spartans rolled.
William Cameron and Jordan Brown also scored for the Spartans, Cameron on a 15-yard run in the third quarter and Brown from 7 yards out in the fourth to give Southern a 39-14 lead with 8:43 to play.
But Northern (0-5) came back in its best performance of the season, as quarterback Zaaqhai Mann and Kendrick Bailey scored on 1-yard dives in the final 4:17.
“Overall, we struggled defensively against the big plays,” first-year Northern coach R.J. Wilson said. “Offensively, we were better. The kids are growing, growing, getting better and tonight they started to believe in themselves. This is a very young group and they’re getting better.”
Southern, a prohibitive favorite heading into the cross-town rivalry showdown, led comfortably throughout — probably too comfortably, Coach Adrian Jones said.
“There’s no reason the score should have been that close,” Jones said. “I hate to say it, but this is a poorly coached football team. That includes me. Penalty-wise, offensively, we just weren’t getting it done.
“When we were playing behind the sticks (more than 10 yards from the first down marker), we were calling plays we usually don’t call. We were making mistakes in the red zone (that) we just can’t make.”
As it turned out, the key play in the game came on the second play of the fourth quarter. Down 33-14, Northern drove to the Southern 3, and Deshon Holmes fumbled on first and goal.
Anthony Perry recovered for Southern and returned the ball 61 yards to the Northern 37 to set up Brown’s touchdown, a swing of what would likely have been 13 points in Southern’s favor in a game the Spartans won by 12.
“We didn’t capitalize on opportunities offensively,” Wilson said. “That fumble at the 3 and their big return really hurt. It was the real swing in the game.”
NOTES — Big plays defensively for Northern were recorded by Marcus Starr and Isaiah Townsend, who broke up a pair of long passes. Ladarius Perry intercepted a two-point conversion pass attempt by Hinton. ... Atavion Oliver and Leondray Howell each sacked Hinton once and Demazio Samuel had two tackles for loss and Kendrick Bailey one. ... On the Southern side, Markise Howard picked off a Mann pass, Roosevelt Holdins had two sacks, Christian Howze four tackles for loss, Montreal Cherry 1.5, Tyrell Carrington, Anthony Perry and Montreal Cherry one each.
Southern 39, Northern 27
S—Maurice Trowell 39 pass from Kendall Hinton (kick failed), 10:03.
S—Hinton 1 run (pass failed), 2:07.
S—Trowell 47 pass from Hinton (Leonardo Orozco kick), 0:42.
N—Zaaqhai Mann 3 run (T.J. Milby kick), 4:19.
S—Trowell 12 pass from Hinton (Orozco kick), 1:54.
N—Alphonso Gbojueh 2 run (Milby kick), 8:48.
S—William Cameron 15 run (Orozco kick), 3:47.
S—Jordan Brown 7 run (kick blocked), 8:43.
N—Mann 1 run (Milby kick), 4:17.
N—Kendrick Bailey 1 run (pass failed), 0:23.
RUSHING—Southern, William Cameron 10-56, Jordan Brown 3-26, Kendall Hinton 8-22, Toney Bass 3-20. Alphonso Gbojueh 20-71, Zaaqhai Mann 21-100, Kendrick Bailey 2-3, Domineke McNeill 1-8, Marcus Starr 2-15.
PASSING—Southern, Kendall Hinton 17-28-0-282. Northern, Mann 11-20-1-104 RECEIVING – Southern, Maurice Trowell 8-157, Jordan Brown 1-56, Derrick Mason 6-57, Jason Henderson 1-2, William Cameron 1-10 . Northern, Jalon Nixon 3-23, McNeill 4-30, Dejuan Graham 2-24, Ravon Bass 1-12, Spencer Harris 1-14.
Records—Southern 2-2; Northern 0-5.