The Jaguars Wrap Up Region Play With Win Over the Panthers
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The Northridge Jaguars (6-3, 5-2) were able to overcome a sloppy game against the Brookwood Panthers (4-5, 2-5) 28-14 but it definitely wasn't pretty. This game consisted of 14 penalties, three turnovers, and the quarterbacks went a combined 7-of-26 passing the ball.
Northridge started the game with the ball at midfield after Brookwood tried an onside kick and was able to get the ball into the end zone. Running back Toryion Spears was able to get the ball down to the 30-yard line where the drive started to stall out. After several incompletions, quarterback Rowdy Christensen found wide receiver Kollyn Shelnutt on fourth down and Shelnutt evaded a defender, taking it into the end zone to give Northridge the early 7-0 lead.
After both teams traded punts, the Panthers seemed to have some life with a drive that started at its own 13-yard line Brookwood turned to its running back duo of Malcolm Davis and CJ Cummins. The two traded carries, getting the ball all the way down to the Northridge 27-yard line before Cummins put the ball on the ground and turned the ball over.
After punting the ball back, the Jaguar defense came up with another big play. Safety Taylor Halperin stepped in front of a Kobie Humphries pass and returned it down to the ten-yard line, where running back PJ Hall took it in from there to give Northridge a 14-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the half. The Jaguars, who were without 2024 four-star defensive back Travaris Banks for undisclosed reasons, made another big stop to get the ball back. The Jags tried to put some last-minute points on the board, but Brookwood defender Andrew House intercepted an under-thrown pass by Christensen. Brookwood closed out the half without being able to put points on the board.
"Our defense played great all night and really keep us in the game against a good football team," said Brookwood head coach Mike Bramblett. "Turnovers and penalties is what keep us from making this a game until late."
The second half provided more offense and more penalties as emotions started to rise on both sides of the field. Brookwood stalled on its first drive of the half. Northridge responded quickly with a six-play, six-yard drive capped off with Christensen finding tight end Patton Curington on the left side, who took it down the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown, giving the Jags a 21-0 lead. Brookwood finally got some life as Humphries found wide receiver Otis Sims for a 60-yard gain down to the Northridge eight-yard line. Humphries finished off the drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak, cutting the lead to 21-7.
The drive sparked some life into the Panther defense as the team was able to stop the Jaguar offense and the combo of Davis and Cummins proved to be too much for the Jaguar defense. The pair combined for over 200 yards on the ground on the as they setup Humphries for his second touchdown of the night from five yards out to cut the Jaguar lead to seven points 21-14.
A fire was lit within Spears as he carried ball six times for 45 yards and the game sealing touchdown to give Northridge a 28-14 lead with 1:29 remaining in the game.
Brookwood replaced Humphries at quarterback on its final drive with Jacob Rowell, who could change the tide and Brookwood proceeded to turn the ball over on downs. Northridge was able to kneel the clock out, giving the team its sixth victory of the season.
"We have to play more consistent ball game. Not waiting for someone to score to turn it on and play at a high energy level. If we do that in the playoffs, we'll be an exit." said Northridge head coach Ryan Lolley.
Seniors offensive tackle Wilkin Formby, an Alabama commit, and Spears talked about how they have to just do their jobs and play their game and not conform to what the other teams want them to do as well as getting the younger guys ready and keeping them focused as they close the regardless out next week and get ready to make a push in the playoffs.
Next week, Northridge will close the regular season against The Alma Bryant Hurricanes at home and Brookwood will close out its season by hosting the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats.