Northridge Jaguars Down Central Falcons in 6A Region 4 Matchup
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The Northridge Jaguars traveled to Central High School to face off against the Falcons in a crosstown regional matchup. Ryan Lolley's Jaguars were able to take advantage of a few mistakes by the Falcons and finish the game with a final score of 55-0.
Northridge received the ball on the opening kickoff and Kollyn Shelnutt returned the ball to the Central 37-yard line to put the Jaguars in favorable field position. The Jaguars pushed the ball down the field with five straight run plays before senior running back P.J. Hall punched it in on the sixth play for an eight-yard touchdown run.
Central got the ball back with a chance to answer the early touchdown, but on third down junior quarterback David McNeil was picked off by Hall, now playing safety. Hall returned the ball to the Central 17-yard line to set his team up in prime position once again.
Northridge continued to feed senior running back Toryion Spears on first and second down before handing the ball off to Shellnut on a sweep around the right edge. Shellnut broke multiple tackles and stretched the ball out across the the goal line to put his team up by two scores.
The Northridge defense prevented the Falcons from going anywhere on the following drive and received the ball back after a quick four plays.
On the first play of the drive, Northridge quarterback Rowdy Christensen found senior wide receiver Patten Curington wide open for a 28-yard pass to enter the red zone. Junior running back Tyler McNeal took a reverse around the left edge for 14 yards to put the Jags up by three scores.
Central got the ball back and finally began to show signs of production on offense, however, a penalty on second down put the Falcons behind the sticks. The Northridge defense held strong and played tight coverage on the series of passes to force another three-and-out.
The following drive, Northridge started with the ball in its own territory for the first time all night. This did not matter to Christensen though as he found Curington streaking wide open for a 54-yard touchdown strike to put his team up 28-0 before the end of the first quarter.
After both teams exchanged punts, Central got the ball back and mounted its best drive of the game as the Falcons entered the second quarter. The rushing tandem of McNeil and senior Marquis Thomas marched the ball all the way down to the Northridge 11-yard line.
When asked about his quarterback, Central High School head coach Rodney Bivens said," he definitely does some great things...but he will always attribute the success he has to the the guys that surround him on the field."
Backed up in its own red zone, the Northridge defense came up big on fourth down when McNeil scrambled for five yards on fourth down, but came up just inches short after a measurement was taken by the officials to give Northridge the ball back.
Northridge responded to the Central drive by recording a long drive of their own. Christensen flashed the arm with passes of 12, 15 and 51 yards to put his team in prime position to score again.
After marching down to the Central one-yard line, Christensen handed the ball off to Spears who punched the ball in for the touchdown.
Central punted on the following drive after failing to convert on third down. The punt was kicked short and junior cornerback Nick Sherman took advantage of the short dribbler, scooped it up and ran it 40 yards to the house to put the Jaguars up 42-0 before the half.
Central opened up the second half with another long drive into Northridge territory on the legs of Myles and sophomore running back Shunkeith Turner, before McNeil completed a pass to Myles to put them on the Northridge 25-yard line. On fourth down, a bad snap resulted in a fumble and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs.
Northridge got the ball back and looked to score quickly. Christensen dropped another dime to Curington who took the perfect pass all the way in for the score on a 79-yard touchdown.
The tandem totaled 161 yards and three touchdowns on the night.
When asked about the big night between him and his quarterback, Curington said, " I put it all on my team and Rowdy to get me the ball....on that play, we met eyes and he just threw up..I caught it, put my head down and took it all the way."
Northridge received the ball back in Central territory and took advantage once again. A 20-yard run from junior Khiyon Lewis set up Northridge at the one-yard line and sophomore Jayden Banks punched it in to give viewers the final score of 55-0.
When asked about his team's performance on the night, Lolley said, "we want to keep the standard high and see how good we can get. On all three phases of the game this is probably overall the best we have done...we have a ton of potential [but] we just have to see what the production is."
Northridge hosts Hueytown next week while Central hosts Bessemer City.