Southern Nash mauls No. 11 Northern Nash to clinch Big East's top seed

Southern Nash mauls No. 11 Northern Nash to clinch Big East’s top seed

Southern Nash emerged victorious against their adversary Northern Nash, breaking the Knights’ unbeaten streak for the season and securing the top 3A ranking in The Big East 2A/3A Conference.

Northern Nash came into the evening with a perfect 8-0 record for the season. The team, known as the Knights, were the runners-up in the 3A state championship last year.

Southern now has a perfect 5-0 record in the conference, while Northern has fallen to 4-1. Even if Southern were to suffer a loss against Franklinton in the final week on Friday, they would still hold the tiebreaker over the Knights for the top seed in the 3A East playoffs. This would result in both teams being declared co-champions of the conference.

Northern Nash’s 14-game winning streak in conference play came to an end with this loss. The Knights’ previous defeat in a conference game occurred during the spring 2021 season, which was affected by Covid.

The expected game was postponed during the second quarter on Friday evening because of lightning.

The game resumed on Monday at 6:00 p.m. and continued from where it had previously stopped in the second quarter. Both teams were tied at a score of seven.

Scoring started on Friday during the middle of the first quarter.

With 6:08 remaining in the first quarter, Southern Nash’s senior quarterback, Logan Saunders, ran for a two-yard touchdown, giving the Firebirds a 7-0 advantage.

After approximately five minutes, Northern Nash responded by scoring a touchdown with a 10-yard pass from senior Elijay Pitt to senior Randall King.

Skipping ahead to this evening, Southern Nash was swiftly halted on a third-and-seven and had to punt.

It didn’t take Northern Nash very long to score.

On the first play, left-handed quarterback Elijah Pitt threw a pass to Jaquille Arrington on the right side of the field. Arrington caught the ball, made a move, and ran 62 yards for a touchdown.

The match seemed to be getting out of control following the Firebirds’ subsequent drive.

Trey Battle intercepted Southern and returned the turnover to the Firebirds’ 40-yard line.

However, the Firebirds’ defense rose to the occasion and successfully forced a three-and-out for the Knights.

Following a successful punt, Northern’s defense caused Southern Nash to punt as well.

The Knights successfully advanced to the Firebirds’ 10-yard line, but their attempt at a 27-yard field goal was unsuccessful.

The mistake caused a shift in momentum that benefited the Firebirds.

On a fourth-and-two play near their own endzone, Southern Nash’s senior quarterback Logan Saunders fumbled the snap initially but was able to regain control and find a small opening in the line, gaining enough yards for a first down.

During the following play, Jonathan Hines from the Firebirds made a run into Northern Nash’s territory.

38.3 seconds before the end of the first half, Tylik Mitchell from Southern Nash scored a 50-yard touchdown run on third-and-12, bringing the score to 14-14.

Northern Nash was unable to advance on their drive before halftime due to a block in the back penalty.

During the second half, the Knights began their offensive drive from their own 27-yard line. Despite advancing to their own 48-yard line, they were ultimately forced to punt on a fourth-and-12 play.

The game began with Southern at their own 35-yard line.

On second-and-15, Mitchell broke through for a 60-yard touchdown run early in the drive.

At the 8:02 mark of the third quarter, Southern had a 21-14 lead over Northern.

On the first down, Pitt’s pass was unsuccessful and they were subsequently sacked by the Firebirds on the second. In an attempt to throw to Battle on a challenging route towards the boundary, Pitt and Battle were unable to make the connection.

After the punt, the Firebirds gained possession at the 50 yard line due to a personal foul committed by the Knights.

Despite being penalized for holding, which resulted in a first-and-20 situation, Hines was able to gain enough yards for a first down up to the Knights’ 46-yard line on a third-and-11 play.

Hines and Mitchell persisted in gaining yardage against the Knights’ defense, leading to their third touchdown of the evening.

Luke Faulkner, the second-year fullback, scored a touchdown from one yard away, increasing the Firebirds’ lead to 28-14 with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter.

The Knights quickly responded.

In two attempts, Northern successfully made it to the Southern 19-yard line. Two plays later, Southern was penalized for pass interference. Soon after, Battles pushed through from three yards out and scored a touchdown.

Southern Nash was ahead 28-21 at the conclusion of the third quarter.

Northern was able to successfully defend against the Southern rushing attack and ultimately caused a turnover when they stopped them on fourth-and-seven.

With 9:40 remaining, the Knights gained possession on their own 46-yard line.

Southern had a solid beginning to their drive, managing to prevent Northern from reaching their goal line on back-to-back bubble screen plays. This resulted in a fourth-and-11 situation with 6:57 remaining. Despite calling a timeout, the Knights made a mistake and were faced with a fourth-and-16 instead.

On the fourth down, Pitt discovered Arrington running down the center of the field, but the two were just inches apart from making a connection.

The defense of Northern Nash once again came through, causing Southern to only have three plays before punting.

At 4:06 remaining in the game, Northern gained possession at their own 31 yard line.

During a third-and-11 play, Pitt threw the ball towards Arrington on the left sideline. However, Arrington was unable to stay in bounds and the pass was incomplete on fourth down.

Southern gained possession on the Northern 45 yard line with 3:07 remaining in the game following a personal foul penalty.

A pause on the Firebirds resulted in a second-and-20 situation.

The Knights used their last timeout before Southern attempted a third-and-20 play from their own 45-yard line. On third down, Mitchell gained 15 yards, resulting in a fourth-and-five situation.

Northern completed the fourth down stop.

The Knights regained possession of the ball on their own 40-yard line with 54 seconds remaining. After completing a brief pass, they followed with three consecutive incomplete passes, resulting in the ball being returned to the Firebirds and the end of the game.

On Friday, Rocky Mount will visit Northern Nash (8-1 overall, 4-1 in The Big East 2A/3A conference).