Nothing has been easy for the Northside Eagles this year, but once again they have found a way still be in the running for a state championship.
The Eagles (8-3) will meet Tucker (10-1), the team that ended Northside’s season a year ago, in the round of 16 in the GHSA 6A state championships Friday night.
Northside is battle tested this season, and four of its last five games have been settled by three points or fewer. Meanwhile Tucker has cruised and won seven straight games after losing to Colquitt County. In those seven wins, Tucker has outscored its opposition 394-45.
“I know we have played a very tough schedule this year and that three teams from our region won their first round playoff games,” said Northside head coach Kevin Kinsler, who has been the head coach at Northside for eight years. “I think we have had our struggles this year, but we have struggles every year. We have not been a great offensive team this year, but a part of that is that we have played against some really good football teams. I think this is a bunch of guys that just finds a way to win football games.”
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Northside has scored 228 points this year, which is right around 20 points per game. Kicker Cory Munson has scored 71 of those points and has hit 17-of-23 field goals this year with a long of 59. “Cory has done a great job kicking for us and we have realized that we will never take getting three points for granted,” Kinsler said. “Cory has also been valuable as our punter and has been able to flip the field for us on so many occasions. Our defense is very consistent and we try not to give up big plays, so making the other team drive the ball on a long field is very important to us. I think our defense maybe makes up for our weaknesses by playing extremely hard.”
Tucker is loaded with offensive weapons, led by quarterback Travon Ford, who has thrown for 1,244 yards and 15 touchdowns, while running back Taurean Taylor has rushed for 1,053 yards and 16 touchdowns. They also have a big play receiver in Joshua Vann who has 13 receiving touchdowns this year.
Kinsler was optimistic when talking about the Tucker game. “I know that we will battle because that is what we have done all year,” Kinsler said. “I am just as proud of this team as I can be because they have given Northside football everything they have this year.”