Millbrook spoils Knights’ home opener
Northern’s losing streak reached four games on Friday night, as the Knights fell to Raleigh Millbrook 41-2 at Durham County Memorial Stadium.
The Knights, who are off to their worst start since going winless in 2009, played their first home game of the season. But the familiar surroundings did not seem to help.
Northern first-year coach R.J. Wilson had hoped a home game was what his team needed to finally get the season going in the right direction.
“It was a really tough night with the amount of mistakes that we made,” Wilson said. “We were definitely hoping for a better outcome for our first home game. But we’ll be back next week, and we’ll work hard in practice to get better.”
Northern (0-4) has suffered lopsided outcomes in each of its first four contests, losing by an average of 35.5 points.
Northern was its own worst enemy, as the Knights allowed Millbrook (3-1) to score on a pair of fumble returns in the first half and a long punt return in the third quarter.
“We were in a good close game in the first half, and then we had two turnovers that gave them touchdowns,” Wilson said. “That really put us behind the eight ball.”
Millbrook, which has won eight of the past 10 games against the Knights, took advantage of Northern’s first miscue with under five minutes left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats struck first when Sam Blue picked up a Northern fumble deep in Knight territory and rumbled 16 yards for a touchdown.
The lone bright spot for Northern in the first half was a defensive stand that resulted in a safety.
After pinning Millbrook at its 1-yard line after a punt, the Knights forced a safety two plays later as Wildcats quarterback Lamar Harris was unable to handle an errant snap and the ball skittered out of the end zone.
Northern was unable to build momentum on its next possession after the Millbrook free kick. The Knights fumbled on third-and-13, and it was picked up by Millbrook’s Julian Wilkins and returned 21 yards for a touchdown.
The Knights also allowed an 18-yard touchdown pass from Reid Herring to Jonte Leaston and a 2-yard rushing touchdown to Daminic Wilkins in the second quarter. Wilkins later added an 83-yard punt return in the third quarter as Millbrook built a 35-2 lead.
It could have gotten worse for Northern in the fourth quarter, but the Knights came up with stops deep in their on end that led only to a pair of field goals by Millbrook.
Millbrook 41, Northern 2
M—Sam Blue 16 fumble return (Jarrett Cervi kick)
N—Safety, ball fumbled out of end zone
M—Julian Williams 21 fumble return (Cervi kick)
M—Jonte Leaston 18 pass from Reid Herring (Cervi kick)
M—Daminic Wilkins 2 run (Cervi kick)
M—Wilkins 83 punt return (Cervi kick)
M—Cervi 28 FG
M—Cervi 27 FG
RUSHING—Millbrook, Treay Threatt 7-33, Daminic Wilkins 7-33, Montavius Baker 5-19, Lamar Harris 6-14, Marcus Marshall 3-8, Anthony Bowman 2-7, Ryan Mooney 3-6, Brian Miller 1-0. Northern, Alphonso Gbojueh 23-22, Zaaqhai Mann 19-(minus-3).
PASSING—Millbrook: Harris 1-7-(minus-1)-1, Reid Herring 5-7-80-0, Mooney 0-2-0-0. Northern, Mann 5-14-59-1.
RECEIVING—Millbrook: Leaston 2-36, Bowman 2-34, Reche Hunter 1-8, Brand Goldsmith 1-1. Northern, Jaion Nixon 2-37, Ravon Bass 2-19, Kelvin Belle 1-3.
Records—Millbrook 3-1 , Northern 0-4.