After 45 years, Orange finally beats Northern
In took a couple of generations, but Orange High School finally got the best of Northern High School.
The Orange Panthers, who had not beaten the Northern Knights since 1968, punished their visitors all night in a lopsided 42-15 win. About the only thing the Panthers couldn’t do was hit their pre-game goal of ringing up 45 points – one for every year they waited to defeat Northern.
Orange running backs Tay Jones and Patrick Pettiford pounded out 246 yards between them, running over, through, and around defenders with ease. Junior quarterback Garrett Cloer threw for another 108 yards and three TD’s.
“The game was awesome,” Jones said. “I was just seeing the end zone. I couldn’t get there but I got the yards. My line was blocking, my other running back was blocking, we look out for each other.”
Pettiford said both offense and defense struggled in the first half.
“But we went into the locker room and talked it over, so the line started blocking, more holes started opening up and we just started executing more” in the second half, Pettiford said.
Orange jumped into a 14-0 lead in the first half.
Michael Bolden, the Panthers’ jumbo junior running back, got the home team on the board halfway through the first quarter. He took a handoff and powered his 6-1, 250-pound frame straight up the middle for the 1-yard score.
Jones dashed seven yards into the end zone in the second quarter to cap a 60-yard, three-play drive that featured all first downs.
The score was set up when the Panthers blocked a short Northern field goal attempt. Senior linebacker Brandon Vanhook scooped up the ball and scooted for what looked to be an 85-yard TD. Offsetting penalties brought the ball back to the Orange 40.
Orange got a pair of passing touchdowns from Cloer in the third period. Pettiford hauled in a 27-yard pass, and 5-10 senior wide receiver Joe Piscitelli scored on a 3-yard reception.
Junior linebacker Johnny Jones got Northern on the board in the fourth quarter with an electrifying, 75-yard interception runback down the sideline. He eluded the grasp of would-be Orange tacklers three times as he sprinted, high-stepped and barreled into the end zone to make it 28-7.
Orange came right back with a 7-play, 65-yard march punctuated with a 6-yard scoring pass from Cloer to 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver Ky Muller.
Vanhook got a touchdown in the waning minutes of the game, jumping on a fumble in the end zone. Knights QB Zaaqhai Mann was hit behind the line of scrimmage near the Northern 10. The ball popped loose when it appeared Mann tried to unload an awkward desperation pass before hitting the turf.
Northern got the last score when pesky sophomore running back Alphonso Gbojueh, plunged over from the 3-yard line and Mann ran a keeper for the 2-point conversion.
Orange 42, Northern 15
Orange—Michael Bolden 1-yard rush (Brad Barbee kick) 5:30
Orange—Tay Jones 7-yard rush (Barbee kick) 2:33
Orange— Patrick Pettiford, 27-yard pass (Barbee kick) 7:16
Orange—Joe Piscitelli, 3-yard pass (Juan Torres kick) 2:36
Northern—Johnny Jones, 75-yard interception (TJ Milby kick) 8:36
Orange—Ky Muller, 6-yard pass (Barbee kick) 4:53
Orange—Brandon Vanhook, fumble recovery in end zone (Torres kick) 3:31
Northern—Alphonso Gbojueh, 3-yard rush (Zaaqhai Mann 2-point conversion) 1:00
Rushing, Northern, Alphonso Gbojueh 13-74,
Orange, Tay Jones 11-148, Patrick Pettiford 13-98, Michael Bolden 5-18
Passing, Northern, Zaaqhai Mann 2-8-16
Orange, Garrett Cloer, 11-15-108
Receiving, Northern, Jacob Johnson 1-10, Johnathon Branch 1-6
Orange, Ky Muller 3-33, Tay Jones 4-28, Patrick Pettiford 1-27, Artrell Stewart 1-11, Joe Piscitelli 2-9
Records-Northern 0-2, Orange 2-0.