Northern Nash had no interest in overtime.
Down seven with just more than three minutes to go, the Knights had the ball at Wilson Hunt’s one-yard line, and their plan was to go for the two-point conversion when the ball crossed the goal line.
Northern Nash never earned the chance.
Hunt stuffed the Knights on first down, then Northern Nash committed two delay of game penalties and eventually lost a fumble. With Northern Nash out of timeouts, Hunt ran out the clock for a 14-7 victory Friday at Northern Nash High School.
“If we had had a timeout saved, it probably would have been a different story,” Northern Nash coach Randy Raper said. “There was just nothing we could do.”
Northern Nash (3-4, 0-1 Big East Conference) had virtually no sustained offense until it put in Kendrick Richardson at quarterback in the fourth quarter. The
Knights’ power-set allowed them the move the ball against the Warriors (4-3, 1-0), but it also exhausted Richardson, who plays on defense and special teams.
When the Knights took hold of the ball on their final drive, Richardson ran for 24 yards on first down and reached the ball just short of the goal line.
“It was very close,” Richardson said. “It was very close, but the ref made the right call and put it at the one.”
With Richardson noticeably gassed after the run, Northern Nash failed to snap the ball before the play clock ran out. Richardson was taken down for a four-yard loss on the Knights’ next play, after which Northern Nash didn’t snap the ball in time again.
The only time Richardson is not on the field is for kickoffs and kickoff returns, and eventually, the workload taxed him.
“When you have to play the whole game and you’re giving your all every play, it happens to you,” Richardson said.
The Knights subbed in regular quarterback Jacob Green, but Green was hit as he tried to throw on the run. The Warriors pounced on the resulting fumble, and the Knights had no recourse when they couldn’t stop the clock.
“You get it down to the one, that doesn’t mean you get it in,” Hunt coach Steve Hinnant said. “Our kids bowed up, and (Northern Nash) made a mistake. It’s part of the game.”
The end was a painful one for Northern Nash, which cost itself with penalties all night.
After one half, Northern Nash had been penalized for more yards (41) than they had gained as an offense (25).
Even so, the Knights only trailed, 7-0, at halftime, and a defense-dominated contest continued into the third quarter. Neither offense had much success until Hunt running back Dexter Wright broke through the Northern Nash line for a 70-yard touchdown with 36 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Raper said the run was his fault.
“That one was mine,” he said. “I made a bad defensive call and left our kids out of position, so that one was mine.”
Northern Nash implemented its Wildcat-like set with Richardson on the next possession, but a snap over his head sabotaged the drive.
The Knights held the Warriors to a three-and-out, and Hunt shanked the resulting punt. Richardson gained all 44 yards on the Knights’ touchdown drive, putting Northern Nash’s defense in a position where it needed a stop.
“Our defense was on the field the whole game, but our defense knew if we get this one stop, we had a chance to win this game,” Richardson said. “Coach told us at the end we would have a chance to win.”
The Knights again forced the Warriors to go three-and-out, then they took hold of the ball on the Warriors’ 47-yard line.
The Knights had called all of their timeouts in the process of the comeback, which proved critical.
Northern Nash’s only option on offense was Richardson, and it couldn’t give him a rest. Even though there was plenty of time on the game clock, Richardson was spent.
“Ken played hard on defense and we were running him, running him, running him,” Raper said. “He just ran out of gas. He was exhausted. Ken played his butt off.”
Raper said the Knights thought they made it harder on themselves with mistakes.
“No doubt, they’re dejected,” Raper said. “It felt like we had a chance to win this game.”
Wilson Hunt 14
WH 7 0 7 0 –14
NN 0 0 0 7 – 7
WH – Dexter Wright 3 run (Brian Orellana kick), 6:04
WH – Wright 70 run (Orellana kick), 0:36
NN – Kendrick Richardson 1 run (Corbin Griffin kick), 5:47
8 First downs...............7
36 Passing yards........000
147 Total offense........000
Rushing – WH: Wright 12-100; T. Davis 10-21; A.K. Knight 1-14; Justin Jefferson 3-14; T.J. Speight 1-2; Jacob Williamson 3-(-13); Anthony Gaetano 1-(-27). NN: Richardson 11-73; Michael Bertolino 5-27; Jaquez Howington 5-19; Quan Whitakers 2-5; Jamayis Rosser 3-4; Jacob Green 8-(-42).
Passing – WH: Jacob Williamson 3-4-0, 36. NN: Jacob Green 2-5-0, 7.
Receiving – WH: Malik Williams 3-36. NN: Bertolino 1-11; Whitakers 1(-4).
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or firstname.lastname@example.org