The Northside Eagles claimed their third GHSA state football championship and first since 2007 with a dramatic 25-18 come-from-behind victory over the Mays Raiders on Friday night at the Georgia Dome.
Northside got off to a good start thanks to a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jay Kendrick, but the remainder of the opening half belonged to Mays. Raider quarterback Asaniah Aderhold threw touchdown passes of 19 and 76-yards to take the lead, before tossing a 29-yard strike on the final play to carry all the momentum to the break.
The Eagles regrouped and started quickly in the third quarter by putting together a nine play drive, but it ended without points.
After a defensive stand by Northside, offensive coordinator Chad Alligood decided to dip into his back of tricks on the ensuing possession and dial up a flea flicker. Quarterback Tobias Oliver handed off to Willie Jordan, who tossed the ball back to Oliver, who then passed to a wide open Nate Green for a 70-yard touchdown with a little over four minutes to play in the quarter.
The Eagle defense kept the momentum by forcing a three-and-out and Oliver went quickly back to work. He drove his offense all the way to the Raider’s 15-yard line, thanks in part to a pair of long runs, before settling for a Justin Alonso 32-yard field goal to cut the deficit to just one.
After yet another stellar defensive series by the Eagles, Oliver would put Northside ahead for good. The sophomore signal caller slashed through the Mays defense on the third play of the drive for a 47-yard score that sent the Eagle sideline into a frenzy. He then successfully converted a two-point play by finding Jurmon Weaver in the endzone for a seven point advantage.
Mays was not done. They drove to the Northside 1-yard line, but were unable to score after missing a short field goal attempt.
The Raiders had one final opportunity after a Jordan fumble handed them the ball at their own 37 with a little over two minutes remaining. They gained an initial first down, but were unable to get into scoring position as the Eagles forced a turnover-on-downs four plays later to secure the victory.
The Northside buses arrived back in Warner Robins at about 2:30 am to a parking lot full of well-wishers not yet ready to end the championship party.
The title is the first for the Eagles under head coach Kevin Kinsler.