Orange, out of the Big 8 3A Conference, won its fourth straight matchup against 4A Northern Durham with a hard-fought 21-13 win in Friday night football.
The Panthers’ defense helped the team overcome six offensive turnovers by sacking Northern quarterback Luke Fenlon seven times and blocking a field goal.
“The coaches preach to us all the time that the defense should set the tone and that’s what we feel we should do,” said junior defensive end Ryan Sellers, who recorded three of his five sacks in the first half.
After a scoreless first quarter, Orange took advantage of a fumbled punt that put the Panthers at the Knights’ 19-yard line. Running back Marvante Beasley ran both plays to put his team up 7-0 with 8:02 left in the second quarter.
But Orange quarterback Jackson Schmid’s second interception of the first half gave Northern good field position at its 39. Three straight passes from Fenlon to wide receiver Daylan Felton totaled 60 yards to the Orange 1, setting up running back Jaylan Burton’s plunge to tie the game with 1:40 left.
The Panthers thought they had retaken the lead when Beasley returned the kickoff 96 yards, but it was called back on a penalty.
In the third, a bad punt by Northern put the Orange at the Knights 26. Running back Ryan Puckett skipped in from the 6-yard line six players later to put the Panthers ahead 14-7.
But turnovers continued to plague Orange. Northern cornerback Patric Harris ripped the ball out of the runner’s hand and ran it in 25 yards for a score. But the point-after attempt was mishandled.
The Panthers got an insurance run with a 10-play, 53-yard drive that Puckett took in for his second touchdown with 7:44 left.
Northern had one final shot but fumbled the ball away with 3:19 left.
Northern failed to tie the game after scoring a touchdown with 4:39 left in the third quarter. A mishandled snap negated the PAT and gave Orange a 14-13 lead it never relinquished.
THREE TO KNOW
Ryan Sellers, Orange: Recorded all three of the Panthers’ sacks in the first half and five for the game. Two of the three pushed the Knights out of field-goal position.
Stone Edwards, Orange: Was just as fierce with two sacks in the second half.
Marvante Beasley, Orange: rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown.
THEY SAID IT
“Our coaches teach us to practice harder and harder, and the harder we practice, the better we play against the toughest competition,” Edwards said.
BY THE NUMBERS
1: Northern’s only win against a nonconference opponent in its past 18 regular-season games.
14: Straight victories by Orange over PAC-6 competition.
Minus-56: Yards lost by Fenlon from the seven sacks.
Minus-10: Total rushing yards for Northern.
2: Interceptions by Schmid versus 0 completions.