The Northland High School football team earned a share of its first conference championship since 1996 and beat Beechcroft for the first time since 2001 with a 12-7 decision on Friday.
The Northland High School football team earned a share of its first league championship since 1996 and beat Beechcroft for the first time since 2001 with a 12-7 decision on Friday.
The win kept the Vikings' Division I, Region 3 playoff hopes alive as they finished the regular season with an 8-2 overall and 6-1 City League-North Division record. Beechcroft also earned a share of the title at 6-1, but finished 7-3 and out of the Division II, Region 7 playoffs.
"It feels great," senior running back Jarrell Jones said. "We haven't beaten them in a long time and we just love this team."
Jones scored the game's first touchdown on a 10-yard run with 1 minute, 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter. That touchdown was set up when Myles Taylor-Hicks returned a muffed punt 10 yards to the Cougars' 20-yard line six plays earlier.
Northland missed the extra point after the first touchdown, however, and Beechcroft's Dai'ron Glover returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Ohene Osei made the extra point to make it 7-6 Cougars.
The Cougars got inside the Northland 30 once apiece in the second and third quarters but couldn't turn the drives into points.
Then, with 6:52 to go in the third period, Northland began what would become a 15-play, 77-yard drive that took 6:56 off the clock. Tre' Bias, who split time at quarterback with Jermayne Harris, scored on a sneak on fourth-and-1 and Northland missed the two-point conversion for the game's final points.
Beechcroft moved inside Northland territory on its next drive, but Martrise Maddox tackled Glover for a 2-yard loss on one play and Divante Oliver sacked Akin for a 9-yard loss on third-and-12 from the 50 to force a punt.
Maddox finished with two tackles for losses and a fumble recovery to lead Northland, which gave up just 41 points over seven City-North games and limited Beechcroft to 33 yards rushing.
Jones finished with 16 rushes for 55 yards and J.J. Sanders added 19 rushes for 60 yards for the Vikings.
"This is definitely a huge win for us," Northland coach Kevin Tooson said. "We've felt like we've been on the doorstep the last couple years and we couldn't quite get over the hump. You don't know how good this feels right now."
Maurice Hale saw most of the action at quarterback during the first half and finished 4-for-10 for 82 yards passing, while Akin went 5-for-12 for 47 yards through the air for the Cougars.
"They were all over the place and got pressure on us," Beechcroft coach Bruce Ward said. "They played hard all night and we just couldn't get any flow offensively."
BEECHCROFT 7 0 0 0 -- 7
NORTHLAND 6 0 0 6 -- 12
N--Jones 10 run (kick blocked)
B--Glover 85 kickoff return (Osei kick)
N--Bias 1 run (run failed)