Friday, October 31, 2014

Starr’s Mill loses tough defensive battle to Northgate 17-14


By Jimmie Haywood

The Starr’s Mill football team came up just short on the road against the Northgate Vikings Friday night by a final score of 17-14.
As the score indicates this was a defensive battle between two tough teams. Fullback John Smith was a key player for the Panthers who played catch up the entire game, finishing with two scores including a 47-yard catch-and-run that cut the Vikings lead to just three with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter. His other score was a plunge from a yard out midway through the first quarter. 
“Their defense is athletic,” said Starr’s Mill coach Chad Phillips whose team fell to 3-5 after the loss. “They locked us down and they were attacking us.”
Despite having their hands full early with Vikings running back Benton Washington, who rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown in the first half, the Panthers defense was a force in this game. In addition to a crucial goal line stand just before the half, Starr’s Mill blocked a punt and forced a late field goal after a penalty gave Northgate another goal line opportunity late in the fourth quarter.
“We played well defensively,” said Phillips. “This was our best defensive game by far against a very talented running back in Benton Washington.
“We made plays when we needed to and to their credit they never gave up.”
After Washington put Northgate up 7-0 with a 30 yard touchdown run at the 6:54 mark of the first quarter, Starr’s Mill responded with a drive that was caped off by Smith’s one yard touchdown run that made the score 7-6 after the missed point after attempt. The next score of the game would’t come until five minutes left the fourth quarter when James Skalski nailed a 24 yard field goal that made the score 10-6. Northgate added another score on a 10 -yard touchdown grab by Kevin Teasley to go up 17-6 with 1:30 remaining in the game.
After the Vikings gave the Panthers a short field to work with following the kickoff, Smith found the end zone on a check-down pass from Kyle Moseley that went for 44 yards. With the Panthers having no timeouts remaining, they had two chances to convert an onside kick that proved to be unsuccessful, allowing Northgate to hold the ball as time expired on the game.       
The Panthers are poised for showdown on the road against Whitewater (5-3).
If the Panthers are going to have a better result Phillips said his team must make some significant adjustments, “We are going to have to learn how to shake man-coverage and play better on the offensive line.”


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