SHELBY — With their 18-0 victory over the Amanda Elzy Panthers here Friday, the Northside Gators improved to 3-0.
The shutout win dating back to last season improves the team’s win streak to six games where they have outscored their opponents 194-6 (104-0 this season).
In the win, head coach Tavares Johnson said he was not pleased with the team’s offensive performance, but felt the defense continued to be a dominant force.
“Our defense has carried us all year, and tonight they continued to that,” Johnson said. “We moved the ball well and did some good things on offense, but we left a lot of points on the field, and we had a lot of mistakes. We cannot make those types of mistakes next week if we want to win.”
This Friday, the Gators will travel to take on the Gentry Rams in Indianola.
“That is a hostile place to play, and it might be the biggest crowd we have played in front of so we are going to have to be prepared and focused. The work for us begins Sunday in the weight room,” he added.
Northside wasted no time getting started as Semaj Daniels took the opening kickoff 76 yards for the score with 11:43 on the clock. The conversion attempt failed but the Gators led 6-0.
The Gators had a chance to score again in the first quarter following a punt from the Panthers, but Ja’Terrance Moore’s one-yard plunge resulted in a fumble into the end zone which was called a touchback and gave Elzy the ball on the 20-yard line.
The stop for the Panthers gave them the possession as the game rolled over into the second quarter. The first play from the Panthers turned into a bad idea as the Elzy quarterback threw an interception to Northside’s DeVes Seaberry, who returned the ball 15 yards to set up the Gators’ offense.
Off the turnover, the Gators were able to move the ball and with 9:23 remaining in the second period, Thaddeus Latham scored on a short run. The conversion attempt failed but Northside held a 12-0 advantage.
The Gators’ defense forced another punt, and once again it allowed the offense to score, but this time it was through the air as Moore connected with Justin Hudson for a six-yard score with 6:42 left in the first half. The conversion failed again but Northside stretched its lead to 18-0.
Later in the second quarter, it appeared the Gators had a chance to score again when Moore’s deep pass was deflected into the arms of Karltavius Burrage which resulted into a 53-yard pickup. The drive was halted on the next play as Moore fumbled to give the ball back to the Panthers.
Elzy could not muster any offense, and both teams went into the locker room with Northside leading 18-0.
Elzy opened the third quarter with Andrew Moore taking the kickoff all the way down to the five-yard line. The play marked Elzy’s best field position of the night.
Despite excellent field position, the Gators’ defense proved stingy as they stuffed the opportunity for the Panthers and turned them away on downs.
That would be the closest Elzy would get to scoring as the Gators closed the game out the rest of the way by running the ball and playing the field position game.
Moore completed 9-of-14 passes for 138 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had seven carries for 51 yards.
Daniels finished his day with 135 yards on 15 carries with a kickoff return score. Latham got in on the action with eight carries for 31 yards and a score to round out the offense.
Cordarrian Hickman led the Gators’ defense with six tackles including three tackles-for-loss. Tre’Shun Johnson had five tackles with two tackles for loss, and Terrance Shanks added 4.5 tackles to aid Northside.