High School Sports

Northside defense solid in easy second-round rout

Northside's Kevin Kinsler watched his defense take control

The Eagles have been sharper this season, yet still never let Hughes into the game after the first quarter.
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The Eagles have been sharper this season, yet still never let Hughes into the game after the first quarter.

Northside and Langston Hughes got going early, putting up 24 points in less than nine minutes in the first quarter.

The scoring frenzy naturally slowed. For Hughes, it stopped.

Northside’s defense gave up a few decent plays after that but otherwise put the clamps on the Panthers as the Eagles rolled to a 38-10 win in the second round of the GHSA Class 6A playoffs.

Northside improved to 10-2 while Hughes’ season ended at 8-4.

The Eagles led 14-10 with a bit less than four minutes left in the first quarter, after giving up a 79-yard touchdown pass. The Eagles took advantage of a roughing-the-kicker flag after a drive stalled at the 7 and scored a play later for a 21-10 lead with 6:39 left in the first half.

They added an Alex Gelter 40-yard field goal in the final minute of the half.

Northside put the game away on Tobias Oliver’s 13-yard touchdown run with 5:24 left in the third. The Eagles’ defense allowed Hughes to tease but shut the door early in the fourth after giving up two personal foul penalties on one play to keep a Panthers’ drive going.

They failed on fourth down at the 10.

Oliver and De’Sean Dinkins each cracked the 100-yard mark rushing, and Oliver passed for 120 yards.

The Eagles will travel to Glynn Academy, a 47-7 winner over Allatoona.

Four who mattered

Marcus Jolly: The versatile junior offered a reminder of what kind of playmaker he is by bringing a kickoff back 94 yards for a touchdown. He had only 3 yards rushing but caught three passes for 74 yards.

Dinkins: He runs bigger than he his and powered for 114 yards on 19 carries, an average of 6 yards per try.

Oliver: It was another steady night, with 20 carries for 119 yards and an efficient 7-for-12 passing night for 120 yards.

Trashon Owens and Greg Coger: The Northside defensive front seven or eight, depending on the formation, plays a lot of players, and picking any out is almost unfair. But Owens and Coger had plenty of plays as the Eagles kept a balanced Hughes offense under wraps nearly all night.

Worth noting

A flurry: Hughes appeared set to give Northside quite a game, kicking a field goal to pull within 7-3. But Jolly returned the kickoff all the way for a touchdown. Momentum was mighty short-lived. Hughes scored on a 79-yard pass play on its second snap on the ensuing possession to get it to 14-10.

Dandy defense: After the margin fell to four, Northside’s defense bent a few times but certainly didn’t break. Hughes managed a first down on a number of drives but couldn’t sustain anything. The two penalties on one play came on a punt that returned the ball to Hughes at the Northside 43. The Panthers got to the 16, and that was it.

A little misleading: Hughes had 241 yards in total offense, but nearly half came on two plays, the 79-yard touchdown run and a 38-yard scamper by quarterback Isaiah Green. Outside of the run, Hughes managed 89 rushing yards on 30 carries.

They said it

Northside head coach Kevin Kinsler on moving on: “There’s always so much unexpected sometimes. The thing is you’ve got to make plays, you’ve got to overcome mistakes sometimes, come back and make plays. I thought we did that.”

Northside linebacker Kam Burnett: “We could have played better, but it’s good to win. ... We’ve still got three more games left.”

Kinsler on some not-so-sharp spells: “We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times with some penalties. Defensively, we had that one blown coverage right there. The good thing is, there are a couple things that happened to us (Friday), we’ve gotta go back and take a look at and make sure we fix.”

Kinsler on the quality margin of victory: “They hit us with a couple things, but (defense) played well. I say sluggish, but we put up 38 points. The thing is, they got a good football team. Sometimes, really good football teams will make you look sluggish or make you look bad on plays. We understand that. In the playoffs, when you’re playing good teams, they make you look bad a couple plays. You’ve got to come back and play the next play.”

Kinsler on basically controlling the game: “The big thing, I thought we kept getting first downs and moving the ball. … We controlled a lot of the action, and we had the ball a lot.”

What’s next?

Northside will head southeast to Brunwick to face Glynn Academy, a 47-7 winner over Allatoona.

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