Perhaps no team in the Triangle will enter the N.C. High School Athletic Association football playoffs riding higher than Northwood.
The Chargers concluded the regular season with a dominant 47-0 victory on the road against Chapel Hill on Friday as they won their fourth consecutive game.
Having been plagued by slow starts in the past, Northwood (6-5, 4-2 Big 8 3A) made sure that wouldn’t happen on Friday. Powered by strong performances by quarterback Alex Parker and running back Tyrell Baldwin, Northwood jumped out to a 27-point lead in the first quarter, and went on to match its season-high in points, doing so in an explosive and efficient manner.
Parker completed 10 of 19 passes for 216 yards and six touchdowns, while Baldwin reached the end zone three times – twice on receptions, once via the ground game – and rushed for 147 yards.
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“In the past we’ve always tried to feel our way through games, and then turn it on,” Northwood coach Brian Harrington said. “I wanted it turned at the beginning, and they did.”
Since starting the season 2-4, Northwood has suffered just one loss since – an 18-point defeat to Southern Durham on Oct. 21 – and Harrington’s team showed against the Tigers (2-9, 0-6) why it could be a tough opponent to match up with once the postseason begins. Proving to be balanced and unpredictable on the offensive side of the ball, Northwood scored on seven of its eight first half possessions.
Of the Chargers’ 40 play calls, 21 were running plays and 19 were passes.
“We do run the ball more, but we try to be balanced. That’s our number one thing,” Harrington said. “That was our goal tonight. Let’s be as balanced as possible, and we were.”
For Chapel Hill, the loss marked the fourth straight time it was held scoreless, and while the loss was a tough one, coach Issac Marsh said he was proud of his players for not quitting, but was quick to remind them that the work for next season needs to start sooner rather than later.
“We need to get in weight room, and get stronger. We need to become more knowledgeable of film,” Marsh said. “Those are things that are going to come. We’re young. I thought we made good strides this year.”
Already trailing 14-0 less than four minutes into the first quarter, Chapel Hill’s second offensive series showed some promise, but the Tigers fumbled at the Northwood 49-yard line. One play later, Parker connected with wide receiver Treyvonne Barnes for a 51-yard score, and the rout was on.
THREE TO KNOW
Alex Parker, Northwood: The junior-signal caller helped create several big plays for Northwood as two of his touchdown passes went at least 50 yards.
Like any other quarterback would be, Parker was happy with his six-touchdown night, but he was even more pleased with the way Northwood started off the game as a team.
“I’m just glad we were able to go out there, and start off firing,” Parker said. “The past few games we haven’t started off very well, and we’ve had to get ourselves out of a hole.”
Tyrell, Baldwin, Northwood: Listed as 205 pounds, Baldwin has the build of a power back, but he’s also explosive – three of his 17 carries went for 20-plus yards – and he proved to be a threat in the passing game, too, recording a pair of touchdown catches.
Treyvonne Barnes, Northwood: A big-play threat, both of Barnes’ catches went for scores, and he now has a team-best seven touchdowns on the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
minus-12: rushing yards for Chapel Hill.
2: consecutive wins for Northwood at Chapel Hill’s Culton-Peerman Stadium.
21.6: yards per completion for Parker.
109: passing yards by Chapel Hill quarterback Alec Stough.
THEY SAID IT
“We’re a very young team. We’re starting around six sophomores, and I’ve started in a couple of games two freshmen at times. So, we’re very young. We have to keep getting better.” – Northwood coach Brian Harrington.