Vikings’ offense heats up in record-setting win over Ola
by Chris Goltermann
By halftime on Friday, the only suspense left from Northgate’s game against Ola was which senior female member of the Homecoming Court would be leaving Henry Seldon Field wearing a tiara.
Any thoughts of a possible letdown by the Vikings had already vanished into thin air by that point in a record-setting 63-7 victory that crescendoed both early and late in Northgate’s highest scoring effort in school history.
“I didn’t expect that,” said Viking head football coach Tommy Walburn. “It’s just a catch 22 right there. We’ve got to keep running our plays and we subbed as much as we could with them keeping their starters in.”
While only waiting for the envelope with the name of this year’s queen ahead 35-0 at halftime, the Vikings had already crowned the Mustangs for five scores — including one from their defense — in a dominating effort that pushed their record to 2-2 with a second straight victory.
Northgate jumped out to a 21 point first-quarter before scoring twice in each of the final three periods.
“When you win everything just looks a whole lot better,” Walburn said. “Homecoming worries me and it’s not because I don’t want them to be involved in it. It just expends so much emotion. It was a great crowd and a beautiful night for football.”
The win equally added some more momentum for Walburn’s lineup heading into an important three-game stretch against tough Region 4-AAAAA opponents Union Grove, Whitewater and Creekside starting with a trip to McDonough next Friday.
Coordinator Bubba Jeter’s defense held winless Ola (0-4) to 52 yards and two first downs over two quarters of play while Kesley Dalrymple’s offense converted on their first three offensive possessions.
In between, Torres Johnson scooped up an Ola fumble and scored when teammate James Skalski sacked Mustang starting quarterback Conner Schlottman inside the 10-yard line.
Schlottman, a senior starter at cornerback, found himself behind center on offense this week after a rash of injuries left Ola without its top-three signal callers.
Not that it might have made a difference against a Viking defense that held an opponent to two scores or less for the third time in four games so far. With Skalski at full strength for the first time this season and free safety Matt Smith back in the lineup, the unit held Ola to zero or negative yardage on nine of its first 21 rushing attempts.
Senior Christian Gaston and backup sophomore cornerback Kamari Ray each had interceptions in the victory. Along with his key sack, Skalski was perfect on extra-point attempts and added at least a pair of touchbacks on kickoffs.
The Mustangs, which managed to get on the scoreboard with 1:56 left to play in the third quarter on William Smith’s 17-yard run only had one carry over 10 yards in their first-two periods.
Northgate’s running game, meanwhile, continued to pick up steam for the second consecutive week, getting three scores from senior Benton Washington and two each from junior Kevin Teasley and freshman Mon Evans, his first and second touchdowns of a blossoming varsity career.
Washington led the way with 154 yards and three touchdowns on his first six touches of the game, including the first play from scrimmage to open the second half to push a 42-0 advantage.
The Viking senior accounted for both his team’s two scores in the second quarter, running untouched for 44 and 39 yards on drives that took a combined three plays. Offensive linemen Austin Black and Jake Humphries sprung Washington twice with blocks without much of any challenge from an Ola defender afterwards.
Looking to open the passing game up after three weeks of little success, Viking quarterback Tyler Rowland answered by connecting on his first three attempts, the first two on long-yardage situations during third and fourth downs that led to scores.
Rowland’s 34-yard fade to Armond Upshaw in double-coverage gave Northgate new life on its first possession, with Teasley scoring the first of his two touchdowns on the following snap from 21 yards out for a quick 7-0 advantage.
Then facing fourth-and-6 from the Ola 35, Rowland snuck a pass in tight coverage to tight end Kyle Feldbauer in stride at the goal line to put the Vikings ahead 14-0 with 3:02 left in the opening quarter.
“That’s something that we know that we’re going to have to do and we’ve worked on in practice all week. We know down the line that’s going to be something he can do,” Walburn said. “And early in the game we got in some long yardage situations. They made a couple of good plays and we were able to throw the ball.”
Evans added a pair of long touchdown runs of 46 and 81 yards in the fourth quarter to push Northgate over the 60-point plateau for the first time in school history. Freshman Kyle Cater, who dressed out for the first time in his varsity career, also made his debut with a couple of solid carries late.
“I’m proud of those guys,” Walburn said. “We brought [Cater] up from the JV just for this. It was just a good night for us.”
Vikings 63, Mustangs 7
OLA 0 0 7 0 — 7
NORTHGATE 21 14 14 14 — 63
NG — Kevin Teasley 21 run (James Skalski kick), 8:26
NG — Kyle Feldbauer 35 pass from Tyler Rowland (Skalski kick), 3:02
NG — Torres Johnson 7-yard fumble recovery (Skalski kick), 1:25
NG — Benton Washington 44 run (Skalski kick), 9:33
NG — Washington 39 run (Skalski kick), 7:20
NG — Washington 53 run (Skalski kick), 10:42
NG — Teasley 10 run (Skalski kick), 5:19
OLA — William Smith 17 run (kick good), 1:56
NG — Mon Evans 46 run (Skalski kick), 6:16
NF — Mon Evans 81 run (Skalski kick), 1:06