Whitewater, Wafford too much for Vikings
by Doug Gorman
What a difference seven days makes.
After knocking off Union Grove last week in dramatic style thanks to a 26-yard field goal as time expired, Northgate trailed visiting Whitewater from start to finish Friday Night in the Region 4B-AAAAAA opener, falling 17-6.
The loss halted Northgate's threeg ame winning streak and dropped the Vikings' record to 3-3. Whitewater (5-1) took control of the region standings with its fifth win in a row.
After struggling to gets its running game going on the first couple of series of the game, the Wildcats put the ball in the hands of Christian Wafford, and the tailback had a huge night.
Wafford scored both Whitewater touchdowns and finished the game with 206 yards rushing on 22 carries.
The junior scored on touchdown runs of 4 and 43 yards, and also had first-down gains of 27 and 14 yards to help his add to his impressive numbers.
Northgate hurt itself at times Friday on special teams by missing two field goals and an extra point.
'I am not mad at anybody because I thought we played hard,' Northgate head coach Tommy Walburn said. 'We just had too many missed opportunities, and you can't do that against a good team.'
Whitewater put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead with 4:26 left in the second quarter on Wafford's 4-yard run.
Quarterback Jay Ashley completed passes of 7 and 20 yards early in the drive, and then hit a third-down pass to Josh Alexander that was good for 13-yards to move the ball down to the four.
One the next play, Wafford took the handoff and ran untouched into the end zone for the score.
Northgate got its offense going one series later on its only trip to the end zone.
Taking a little more than four minutes off the clock, the Vikings put together a 14-play, 72 yard drive right for a touchdown in the final 30 seconds of the first half.
The Vikings moved the sticks twice on third down to keep control of the football. Northgate spread the wealth between running backs Benton Washington, T.J. Womack, and Kevin Teasley during the series.
Washington converted a third-down and-one into a first down with his sevenyard run to push the ball to the Wildcats 23.
With time running out in the second quarter, Rowland completed back-to-back passes, including a 16-yarder to Teasley on third down. On his next snap, Rowland rolled to his right to Womack in the end zone for the score.
The missed extra point kept the Wildcats in the lead at 7- 6 at the break. Womack led the way for the Vikings with 71 yards on 15 carries. Washington added 69 yards on 17 carries and Teasley finished the night with 44 yards.
Whitewater gained the upper hand on the first series of second half by marching 80 yards in less than three minutes for their second score of the game.
The biggest play of the drive came when Ashley hit Alexander on a 23-yard pass to convert a third down and 11. Two plays later Wafford broke free on his 43-yard scamper into the end zone for a 14-6 lead.
After exchanging punts on the next two series, Whitewater ended Northgate's hopes to find the end zone when Ray May intercepted Rowland's pass late in the third quarter.
The Wildcats took advantage of the turnover with a drive that took nearly six minutes and extended into the final period.
Wa f ford conver ted a fourth-down play into a first to keep Whitewater in control of the football May added to his defensive numbers with two long runs on offense during the series.
After getting stopped short of the goal line, Whitewater settled for a 21-field goal from Xavier Rhodes for the final points of the game.
James Skalski, who hit the game-winning field goal for Northgate last week, missed on his second field goal attempt from 39 yards on what turned out to be the Vikings' last possession on series later.
Northgate set up for the field goal chance by converting two third downs and a fourth down during the series.
On the first series of the contest, Northgate challenged the Whitewater defense with a couple of long runs. The Vikings picked up five first downs during the games opening drive, before settling for the field goal attempt that missed the mark.
Northgate makes the short trek to Fairburn next week for a game against Creekside for another subregion contest.
'It doesn't get any easier,' Walburn said. 'We have to get ready for another tough game.'
Wildcats 17, Vikings 6
WHITEWATER 0 7 7 3-17 NORTHGATE 0 6 0 0-6
WW -Christian Wafford 4 run, 4:26 (kick good) N - Tyler Rowland 5-yard pass to T.J. Womack, :21 (kick failed) Third Quart er
WW - Wafford 46 run (kick good), 9:26
WW - Xavier Rhodes 21 field goal, 8:17