Second half belongs to No. 7 City

September 24, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

They came from the left. They came from the right. They came up the middle.

They swarmed the Northern offense like so many angry bees whose nest had been disturbed, and when City's defense was finished yesterday, the Vikings had been royally stung.

The No. 7 Knights rationed previously unbeaten Northern to one first down (via a penalty) and minus-19 offensive yards, rolling to a 36-8 win in a city 3A League game at City.

Despite their defensive dominance, however, the Knights were still in a game midway through the third quarter, thanks to a 75-yard return of a fumble to a touchdown by the Vikings' Marshall Everett.

City (3-0) was threatening to put away its 32nd win in its past 34 games, driving the second-half kickoff to the Vikings' 22.

But a botched handoff squirted into the air and Everett snatched the ball and ran untouched to the end zone to bring Northern to within 12-8.

"That was our spark right there, when they picked up the fumble and scored," said City coach George Petrides. "We needed something to wake us up, and that was it."

The Knights answered with a five-play, 75-yard march culminating in a 21-yard sweep into the end zone by junior Damian Beane.

On its next possession, Northern (2-1, 1-1) followed form, going three plays and punting during the only time it had the ball in the third period.

City wrapped it up convincingly with touchdown drives the next two times it had the ball, the second after a lost fumble by the Vikings.

"We did not move the ball at all. Three-and-out all day doesn't get it," Northern coach Ike Hemphill said. "We blew a bunch of assignments and just didn't play well offensively. Give credit to City. They took advantage of every mistake."

Wide receiver-linebacker Kevin Griffin was a particular standout

for the Knights, catching three touchdown passes from quarterback Jermaine Peterson -- two on fourth-down plays -- and seemingly playing everywhere on defense.

Griffin and Dennie Freeman each had two sacks and led the charge against harried Vikings quarterback Kalish Hicks.

"Both of us were undefeated, so we knew this would be a hard game," said Griffin. "We had to keep the pressure on them and we did."

Petrides credited defensive coordinator Warren Schwartz with devising an effective plan.

"Our scout told us Northern looked like a machine [offensively] against Douglass," said Petrides. "They ran some new stuff, a double slot and the run-and-shoot.

"So Warren said we had to get in the backfield and get them before they had a chance to start that offense. We had a lot of things going on defensively."

The Knights used their ball-control ground game effectively, running up 254 rushing yards on 54 carries and throwing just five passes. Conversely, Northern ran just 26 plays from scrimmage, exclusive of punts.

Northern had only six plays for plus yardage and did not complete a pass.

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