Vikings look to build from scrimmage loss

by Doug Gorman

Northgate head coach Tommy Walburn wasn't concerned about the scoreboard at Henry Seldon Field at the end of Friday night's scrimmage, which saw Veterans ahead 30-20 at its conclusion.

He still came away pleased with the Vikings' overall performance.

'We did some things we have to correct, but I thought our effort was really good. I am proud of our kids,' Walburn said.

Northgate now turns its attention to next Friday's season opener at home against Heritage-Conyers, looking to avenge a 9-7 loss in 2012.

Physically, t h e Vikings will start 2013 in better shape after coming out of the scrimmage unscathed.

'I think our team is ahead of where we were last year,' Walburn said. 'The good thing is we got out of here without in really serious injuries.'

On Friday, the varsity played the first half and a couple of series in the third quarter before JV units took center stage the rest of the way.

Northgate went into Friday night's tuneup for next week's opener at home against Heritage-Conyers trying to answer some questions, especially who is going to be the starting quarterback.

In the end, the battle between quarterback candidates Tyler Rowland and Bo Zachary still might be too close to call.

'I thought both of our quarterbacks played equally well,' Walburn said. 'I think our offensive line blocked well and we had time to throw the football.'

Northgate dug itself a hole on the opening series after a block in the back on the opening kickoff forced the Vikings to start on their own 6.

After picking up just eight yards on the series, Northgate punted the ball to the Warhawks.

Veterans started in Northgate territory and took the lead on a 35-yard field goal. Northgate managed to take a 7-3 lead on Veterans two series later when it got its Wing-T offense rolling.

The Vikings used runs of 14 yards by T.J. Womack and a 16-yard scamper by Benton Washington to set up the latter's 3-yard score with 1:57 left in the first quarter.

Running hard, Womack had 60 yards in the first half and Washington 49 to pace the offense.

At times, however, the Vikings were their own worst enemy against the Warhawks.

With time running out in the first half, it appeared Northgate was headed to the break with the lead.

But Veterans' quarterback Logan Byrd converted a fourth-and-18 pass into a first down when he lofted the ball over the Vikings' defense inside the Northgate 10.

Right before half, Veterans took the lead for good on Isaiah Gray's 7-yard touchdown to make the score 10-7 at the break.

With the varsity still in the game for the first series of the third quarter, Northgate went on the move, marching from their own 20-yard line deep inside Veterans territory.

Rowland's 36-yard pass to Kevin Teasley highlighted the drive.

One play later, though, it stalled when Northgate fumbled the ball back to the Warhawks.

'These are the type of mistakes we can't make, but the good thing is they are very correctable,' Walburn said. The two teams took turns trading touchdowns the rest of the way, but Northgate could never close the gap.

The Vikings did unveil a sneak peek for its future in freshman running back Ton Evans.

Evans, who had a stellar middle school career at Madras, scored touchdowns on a pair of 70-yard sprints.

Both of Evans' scores came on the first snap of drives which started at the 30 in the second half. The first cut the lead to 17-13, while the latter closed out the scrimmage scoring.

Evans could also be used as one of the team's kick returners this season.

'We really feel like he is going to be able to help us,' Walburn said of the freshman.



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