Rams Hold On To Playoff Hopes At Home
On a cold and nerve-racking night in Rams country, Northside was able to hold on at home, 35-31, after a four-quarter shootout with the Madison County Tigers.
"We made a lot of mistakes tonight and Madison County had a great plan," nine-year-veteran Northside coach Chris Hilliker said.
"They came in here and hit us in the mouth most of the game, but our kids are resilient and they came back and got it done."
A 'hit in the mouth' is an understatement when looking at the first half of the bout. Madison County started the game on a 14-0 run, forced two turnovers on downs and left the home fans shocked with five minutes still to play in the first quarter.
The Rams were able to get the offense moving in the second quarter, however, and connected on back-to-back drives - with two passing touchdowns - from junior quarterback Braden Green to junior wide receiver Jayden Roberts and senior rusher Jace McNutt.
Trailing by a field goal at the half, the Rams defense needed to make a statement and a stop to give the offense a chance to regain the lead. They managed to force just the second punt of the evening but were forced to trot right back to the field due to a McNutt fumble.
The momentum from the locker room and responding before the half wouldn't last as Madison County's junior wide receiver Isaiah Perdue broke off a 78-yard rushing touchdown, deflating the crowd again and bringing the score to 24-14
Northside struggled to respond, but their defense kept them in the game long enough to score late in the third quarter off of a three-yard rushing TD from Green.
Green took over in the second half after withstanding a hard targeting penalty close to his own sideline. With under three minutes remaining in the game's closing quarter, the Tigers clawed back into the lead with an eight-yard TD reception from senior runningback Rayland Woods.
But, the Rams offense wouldn't be denied their home playoff victory and marched down the field with an 11-play drive that ended with Green's fifth touchdown of the night, an eight-yard game-winning touchdown from senior Keiton Camp.
Green finished the evening 24-for-33 with 318 passing yards and a passing touchdown to three separate players. He rushed the ball himself for a total of 22 carries and two additional touchdowns.
Having an unusually frustrating night running the ball, McNutt still finished the game with seven carries for 18 yards. He shined brightest as a receiving back this week and caught all nine of his targets for 105 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Season-saving Keiton Camp finished the grinding win 2-for-3 receiving with 22 yards and the touchdown that moves Northside into round two of the AHSAA Playoffs.
Madison County's Isaiah Perdue had himself a career game in the loss, highlighted by 19 carries, 259 rushing yards and two of the Tigers' four touchdowns. Following the season-closing loss, the Madison County Tigers finished the 2021 season at 5-6.
The now 10-1 Northside squad will get another chance next week to keep their home record perfect as the Good Hope Raiders (8-3) make the trip to Rams country from Cullman, AL, on Nov 12. The Raiders were able to put together a seven-game winning streak this season after starting their 2021 season with a loss and a forfeit.
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