Northern defensive lineman Jaden Taylor came up short of the end zone with the ball in hands on a screen-pass interception, but he and his defensive teammates completed their job to keep Jordan out of the end zone.
Northern defeated the Falcons 10-0 in the Friday night game between the Bull City schools played on Jordan’s field.
“I thought I had a touchdown, but I didn’t get it,” Taylor said with a sigh. “I wish I would have gotten it.”
The only touchdown of the game was early in the second quarter when Anthony Freeman caught an 11-yard pass from Kyle Barnhill. In the fourth quarter, Davis Brock provided the Knights with a cushion when he made a 37-yard field goal.
On Taylor’s chance to score, Northern was clinging to a 7-0 lead midway through the third quarter when he read a screen pass on a second-and-13 play. He picked off the pass and at the Jordan 33-yard line and ran up the middle of the field for the end zone, but Jordan running back Andrew Hayes didn’t give up on the play and caught Taylor from behind.
Jordan’s defense responded with its own brand of stingy defense. On first down, Northern botched a hand off but recovered it for an 8-yard loss. On second down, Jordan defensive lineman Joshua Donald sacked Northern quarterback Kyle Barnhill for an 11-yard loss. The Knights settled for a field-goal try that missed.
Northern’s defensive line of Taylor, Justin Rhodes, Andrew Batts and Jaden Lee dominated the line of scrimmage, but Knights coach John Hammett also praised his young secondary. The play from the veteran defensive line was expected this year.
Hammett has been pleased with the progress of his young secondary that picked off five passes.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the defense, especially the young secondary,” Hammett said. “They just made play after play. Those young guys stepped up. We know our defensive line is good and we’re going to hang our hat on defense.”
Jordan coach Anthony Barbour knew his team was disappointed with the loss after a 2-0 start, but he reminded his players they were 0-3 at this point last year in the program’s rebuilding process.
“We played against a very good football team,” Barbour said. “But I’m proud of our defense, too. I feel good about our team. This was our toughest test so far.”
RECORDS: Northern (2-0) at Jordan (2-1).
THREE WHO MATTERED:
(Northern — Davis Brock) The senior kicker converted on a 37-yard field goal with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter to provide the Knights with a two-score lead. He had lined up for a 42-yarder late in the third quarter, but Northern was called for jumping offsides. That forced a 47-yard attempt that was long enough but drifted right. Brock has connected in practice from 50 yards.
(Jordan — Andrew Hayes) The senior was electric on punt returns, with two in the fourth quarter for 35 yards to the Northern 43 and 37 yards to the Northern 15. But both times the Northern defense ended the possessions with an interception.
(Jordan — Jonathan Cradle) On a night the Falcons struggled to gain first downs, the 6-4 senior made two first-down catches in traffic, one for 20 yards and the other for 13.
▪ It looked like Flag Day at Claude Currie Stadium both before and after Jordan’s band took the field at halftime. Northern was penalized for more than 50 yards in both halves. The two teams combined for nearly 200 yards in penalties.
▪ The two-hour delay at Durham schools Friday due to Hurricane Dorian allowed the teams to go ahead with the game. That was especially important to Northern, since it had only played one game to date.
N — Anthony Freeman 12 pass from Kyle Barnhill (Owen Powell kick)
N — Davis Brock 37 FG