The Warner Robins defense overcame two costly special teams mistakes and allowed its offense to get its rhythm as the Demons dominated Northside’s rushing attack on its way to a 28-17 victory on Friday at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.
Warner Robins held its rival to just 168 yards of total offense on 53 plays and put a stamp on the game late in the fourth quarter by stuffing Northside quarterback Jadin Daniels on a third-and-short to turn the ball over on downs and seal the victory.
“We’ve got some big boys up there,” Warner Robins head coach Mike Chastain said. “We’ve got some athletes up there that can play, and they stepped up. The defense, I can’t say enough about those guys (Friday). They played extremely hard, and I’m just very thankful for those guys.”
The Demons controlled the line of scrimmage all night.
Northside’s running backs managed only 28 yards on 12 carries. Daniels didn’t fare much better, carrying 18 times for 30 yards.
The Eagles’ longest run of the game went for just 9 yards.
“We knew that we had to stop the run because they were going to try to run it right at us,” senior defensive lineman Dalton Hedden said.
Warner Robins did face some adversity in the first half, but it showed the resilience of a team whose recent woes against the Eagles were a distant memory as the Demons snapped a three-game losing streak in the series.
Northside opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass after a poor snap on a Warner Robins punt lost 40 yards and set the Eagles up first-and-goal at the 6-yard line.
Special teams woes also led to Northside’s second score of the game. A costly 14-yard punt gave the Eagles possession at the Demons’ 24, eventually leading to a 42-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead, but Warner Robins moved quickly to steal the momentum.
The Demons recovered a pair of fumbles in Northside territory on the following two possessions, leading to 14 quick points and a halftime lead that they would never relinquish.
Warner Robins finished with four forced turnovers. Stifled and unable to find answers, Northside punted eight times in the game and was 0-for-2 on fourth down attempts.
“Momentum is huge,” Chastain said. “Turnovers got the momentum going in our direction, and I don’t think we lost it at all.”