Nash Central kept its playoff hopes alive while intracounty rival Northern Nash saw its fade with the Bulldogs’ 33-7 victory against the Knights.
Striking plays brought fans on both sides of the Knights’ stadium to their feet at different times Friday night – perhaps none more so than a one-two Bulldogs scoring punch at the start of the third quarter.
Already leading 13-7, Nash Central started the quarter on its 33-yard line after taking the kickoff. Grabbing the handoff and heading just inbounds along the Knights’ sideline, Bulldogs senior running back Jarius Richardson sprinted 67 yards for a touchdown on the half’s first play. The point-after attempt was blocked.
After a four-and-out Northern Nash series Nash Central started a five-play, 76-yard campaign capped by a 41-yard wriggle-through-the-line scoring run by senior running back Collin Staton. A two-point conversion made the score 27-7.
Determined to hit back, Northern Nash running back Dequavais Mann took the kickoff from the Knights’ 18-yard-line all the way to the Bulldogs’ 24. But what looked like an almost certain scoring drive turned to ash in the Knights’ mouths on two hotly-contested calls by the officials.
First, from the Bulldogs’ 16, Northern Nash quarterback Marquez Farmer hit wide receiver Kendrick Richardson in the end zone; however, an official’s illegal motion call against the Knights nullified the score and placed the ball on the 21-yard-line.
Second, an undeterred Farmer connected on the next play with Chris Richardson in the end zone. What certainly looked like a score by the still-standing-upright junior wide receiver was ruled incomplete by officials.
Knights coach Mickey Crouch maintained a fixed calm when later discussing those calls and others involving what he saw as recovered fumbles.
“The kids, I know they’re tore up,” Crouch said.
Northern Nash started the game hot, running a nine-play scoring drive capped by a 21-yard touchdown pass from Farmer to senior wide receiver Donte McNeil at 7:38 in the first quarter.
Nash Central’s other touchdowns came on a 50-yard run by junior quarterback Khalil MacKim and a 4-yard run by Jarius Richardson, both in the first quarter, and a 2-yard-run by Jarius Richardson that closed out a 17-play fourth-quarter campaign.
Northern Nash fell to 2-5 and 0-3 in the league, while Nash Central improved to 3-5 and 1-2 in the Big East.
Ross Chandler can be reached at 407-9942 or email@example.com