Northwood ran its record to 4-0 after a wild 28-24 victory over the visiting Southwood Cowboys on Thursday night at Jerry Burton Stadium.
The Falcons clinched the back-and-forth contest with a defensive stand, stopping the Cowboys (1-2) after a fourth-and-goal from the 8-yard line. They did so without junior linebacker Slade Baker, who left the game to be with a family member who fell ill in the stands and was taken to the hospital during the game.
His team rallied around each other and, after a physically exhausting game, held on for the win.
“They give us every ounce they’ve got. They don’t quit. Last year we probably would’ve stuck our lips out,” Northwood coach Jim Gatlin said.
After a scoreless first quarter, the game came to life following a 43-yard Jerrick Peterson touchdown pass to Martavious Washington with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter. The drive was highlighted by Washington’s three catches for 63 yards, including a highlight-reel, one-handed grab for a first down. The junior finished with eight catches for 125 yards.
Southwood wouldn’t quit, scoring twice to take the lead at the end of the half thanks to a touchdown pass from Chris Black to Trevion Morris, followed just less than six minutes later by a 1-yard run by Black to put the Cowboys up 12-7.
Said Southwood coach Anthony McClain: “We put together four pretty good quarters of football, but it just wasn’t quite enough at the end.”
The Cowboys pulled to within four points after Dezarrien Clark’s 5-yard touchdown run.
They also successfully recovered the ensuing muffed kickoff, but failed to take advantage as a holding penalty nullified Chris Black’s go-ahead 8-yard touchdownrun.
“Our inside receiver is doing a great job, but his hand placement is up around his face,” McClain said. “That killed us, but that’s just part of football. We’re going to have to get better.”