The Gordo Greenwave (3-0, 2-0) were victorious over the Northside Rams (3-1, 1-1) tonight 27-13 to claim the No. 1 spot in the Class 4A Region 5 standings.

“I’m proud of our guys for persevering. You really find out what you’re made of when you get in a war like that and it was a war. They got a great team and they're very physical and our guys just continued to fight and finish the game with a win. I'm very proud of our guys," said Gordo coach Ryan Lolley.

 

Gordo's defense set the tone with two big plays resulting in a 3rd and long situation that led to a punt on Northside's opening possession. The home crowd willed the Greenwave offense down the field on its first possession as Gordo took the lead with a 17-yard screen pass from Tanner Bailey to Izayah Edwards.

While trailing 7-0, Northside Coach Chris Hilliker  opted to stick with their rugged run game powered by junior running back Jace McNutt.

The Rams used a steady diet of inside zones and QB power plays to set themselves up on the goal line and took full advantage with a touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Braden Green with 6:04 to go in 2nd quarter. This drive was the epitome of the Northside offense as they held the ball for 17 plays for 73 yards and eating up 12 minutes worth of clock. Tying the score at 7-7.

Fresh legs on the defensive end of the ball were crucial as the Rams forced Gordo into a quick three and out. The Ram’s offensive line continued their dominance at the point of attack and open up holes for McNutt as he grinded the Greenwave defense to shreds.

After a couple of short gains McNutt exploded for a 30-yard run to the outside showing his ability to get to the edge and finish every touch with authority. This however left the Rams in a tough predicament as they only had five seconds left in the half. They opted to go for it on 3rd and goal from the 5-yard line.  McNutt ended up throwing a double-reverse pass but was intercepted  by defensive back Hunter Oglen, proving to a be a massive momentum shift as the Greenwave kept it a tie game heading into halftime.

The second half began with Oglen as well as he exploded for a 15-yard run for the first play of the half. But Northside subsequently forced Edwards to turn the ball over on a fumble recovered by Houston Lackey setting up Northside with a field position in enemy territory.

McNutt toted the rock for 23 yards and Green would chip in a 12-yard keeper to set up a 20-yard score by Wes Maluda giving the Rams the lead at 13-7 with 5:44 left to in the 3rd quarter.

Northside's defense forced two tackle for losses resulting in a Greenwave 3rd and 20 with momentum mounting against them. The highly touted Gordo quarterback then struck, throwing a 60-yard beauty to Christopher Neal, resulting in the score being 14-13 in favor of the Greenwave with 3:49 left in the 3rd.

The Northside rushing attack stalled out, resulting in a 3-and-out giving possession back to Gordo.

Bailey then caught fire and accounted for 51 yards in the subsequent drive, including a 44-yard dime that was capped off by a spectacular diving catch by Oglen leading to a 2-yard touchdown ran in by Ben Capps. With 11:02 minutes left in the game the Greenwave’s led 20-13.

After two consecutive stops by senior defensive lineman Will Spain, Pate Haeden would get a crucial sack forcing the Rams to punt. Oglen electrified the home crowd with an 80-yard return for a touchdown but was called back due to a block in the back penalty.

Bailey then showed his poise and leadership as he threw for 54 yards and the game ending touchdown that served as the straw that broke Northside’s back. Capps was on the receiving end of the 18-yard strike, expanding the lead to 27-13 with 2:41 to go in the game.

 

The Northside Rams tried to complete the comeback, but Gordo safety Christopher Neel ended those hopes with a late interception.

Though he didn’t score senior Northside running back Jace McNutt ran for 120 yards on 23 carriers setting up scores for Green and Maluda who chipped in 27 yards and 32 yards respectively.

Tanner Bailey finished the evening with 12-17 completions for 290 yards and three touchdowns in an impressive effort. His receiving core was headed by Christopher Neel  who had an interception on defense and two receptions for 60 yards and a receiving score. Ben Capps contributed 41 yards receiving with a touchdown catch and a touchdown run and Izayah Edwards chipping in 34 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown catch.

“Our kids played hard. We knew it was going to be a tough battle and a tough task. We had a good week of practice, good preparation, and you know what they came out here and played as hard as they could and gave great effort, we just came up short,” said Coach Hilliker .

When looking forward to next week where the Rams play region opponent Hamilton (2-1, 1-0) Hilliker doubled down on the game plan by saying, “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. That’s our identity that’s what the do. We’re going to keep playing good defense and running the ball.”

Next week Gordo will travel to Haleyville (2-1, 0-1) as region play continues for the Greenwave.

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