Key plays in the final minute went the wrong way for Northern Nash in agonizing losses to Wilson Hunt and Southern Nash, prolonging the Knights’ hopes for a Big East Conference win.
There will be no more waiting for the Knights this time.
Northern Nash beat Nash Central, 21-0, on Friday at Nash Central High School, the Knights’ first Big East victory since 2011.
“There are no easy teams in this conference,” Northern Nash quarterback Jacob Green said. “Southern Nash and Hunt both were hard, bad losses, and I’m really proud of my teammates to bust their butt during the week and come out and get this first win. I think that’s going to carry us the rest of this year.”
Green completed nine of his 11 pass attempts for 150 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for Northern Nash (4-5, 1-2). Three different players scored for the Knights.
“We could be sitting here at 3-0, but we’re not, so we gotta do the best we can,” Northern Nash coach Randy Raper said. “Coming in here (Friday) and getting a big win can get us rolling a little bit. It feels good. These kids deserve it.”
Northern Nash held Nash Central (0-9, 0-3) to negative-13 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs gained one first down, and it came by way of a Northern Nash offside penalty late in the first quarter.
Nash Central also went 0-for-12 on third-down conversions.
“I’ve definitely seen growth, but (Friday), we took a step backwards,” Nash Central coach Kevin Crudup said. “Over the course of the year, we’ve seen us getting better. But (Friday) we took a step backwards. I don’t think we got any better (Friday).”
Green found Jamayis Rosser for a 24-yard touchdown on the Knights’ first possession, then caught a break on his second touchdown pass. A deep pass to Trent Flora was tipped by a Nash Central defender but popped up into the waiting arms of Flora, who ran the remainder of the 47 yards for a touchdown.
The Knights have been a physical team so far, but Raper said they have to be able to throw to win games.
“We’re always trying to find something new,” Raper said. “Now, it’s just getting better at what we’re doing.”
Even after consecutive losses, Green said the Knights’ practices stayed tough.
“Practice was definitely intense. Coach Raper did not let us get our heads down,” Green said. “He made us practice hard, like it was a brand-new season.”
The young Bulldogs still are struggling with preparation, Crudup said, something he thought hurt the team Friday.
“It started with practice this week,” Crudup said. “We didn’t have a great week of practice, and until we can start putting some consistency together, we’re gonna struggle.”
Nash Central travels to Wilson Hunt next week in search of its first victory of 2013.
A trip to Southern Nash awaits in the final week.
“The coaching staff is going to come up with a gameplan for Wilson Hunt that we think can be successful, and our kids are going to have to see how bad they want it,” Crudup said.
Northern Nash’s victory along with losses by Rocky Mount High and Southern Nash have the Knights right back into the playoffs race.
As the Knights continue their upward trend, they want this season to be about more than competitiveness.
“We have something to gain: We have respect to earn,” Green said. “I feel like we’ve started to earn (respect), but we’re still not where we want to be. We want to be in the playoffs, and we want to go somewhere.”
Northern Nash 21
Nash Central 0
NN 7 7 7 0 – 21
NC 0 0 0 0 – 00
NN – Jamayis Rosser 24 pass from Jacob Green (Corbin Griffin kick), 10:02
NN – Trent Flora 47 pass from Green (Griffin kick), 11:50
NN – Jaquez Howington 27 run (Griffin kick), 3:03
15 First downs................1
150 Passing yards................0
294 Total offense............(-13)
Rushing – NN: Howington 14-70; Kendrick Richardson 6-33; Quan Whitakers 1-31; Rosser 1-25; Issac Dupree 1-12; Michael Bertolino 5-9; Flora 4-0; Williams 1-0; Green 3-(-4); Griffin 1-(-32). NC: Charles Harvey 9-7; Hakeem Taylor 3-3; Tyreeq Harrison 1-2; Kashard Howell 2-2; Dexter Richardson 1-0. Khalil Macklin 15-(-25).
Passing – NN: Green 9-11-2, 150.. NC: Macklin 0-7; Tyler Barrow 0-1.
Receiving – NN: Bertolino 5-50; Flora 1-47; Richardson 1-26; Rosser 1-24; Dupree 1-3.
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or email@example.com