NC dealt second straight region loss from North Paulding


Turner Markwalter, Reporter

The NC varsity football team suffered its second consecutive loss on Friday, October 13 to the North Paulding Wolfpack by a score of 24-17. The Warriors fall to 4-3 (0-2) on the season with little time to make their way back into the playoffs. The cold streak started against McEachern on Friday, October 6 losing by a slim 27-21 margin.

The Indians handed the Warriors a loss to start off region play, standing on their strong rushing attack and winning the turnover battle. NC turned the ball over three times in the second half, with two interceptions from former quarterback Dillon Waye and a costly fumble on the last drive gave way to an Indian victory.

The Wolfpack started off the game strong, receiving the first half kickoff and scoring on their first drive off of a long 26-yard run right through the middle of the Warrior defense. NC played without their usual quarterback Waye for the game and freshman Trevor Lovett stood up to the occasion and assumed the leadership role on offense. His first drive, though, ended in a three and out. His only pass on that drive, and the half, resulted in a six yard loss.

The team realized it would take a strong defensive effort to give them a chance, and they stepped up when junior defensive end Caleb Oppan picked up a North Paulding fumble and returned all the way to the end zone to tie the game at seven.

“The defense needed to step up and cause those turnovers to give us any shot at winning,” said senior Madison Henry.

North Paulding immediately answered on the next drive when their quarterback connected on a 30-yard pass to gain a 14-7 lead. NC could not muster any more scores during the first half and let the Wolfpack kick a field goal right before the half ended, extending their lead to 17-7.

At the start of the second half, Oppan again recovered a North Paulding fumble that lead to junior kicker Anthony Rodriguez cutting the lead to 17-10 with a 43-yard field goal. Seven minutes later, senior punt returner Devon-Saunders Johnson weaved his way through the Wolfpack special teams unit and converted an 87-yard punt return to even up the score at 17.

Pass plays of 32 and 33 yards set up North Paulding for a half yard rush to take the lead at 24-17.

“If we keep giving up big plays, I’d be surprised if we made the playoffs,” said senior Jayden Bourne

The Wolfpack defense forced an NC punt on their next drive, where the Warriors capitalized off of a muffed punt from North Paulding’s punt returner with senior offensive lineman Jacob Longacre picking it up immediately, putting the Warriors in opponent territory. The offense, however, punted again after not grinding for enough yards to extend their drive.

NC ended up with the ball at their own 6-yard line with only 92 seconds left in the game. After not doing much offensively the whole game, Lovett and the offense made a last push to try and send the game into overtime. He connected on pass after pass to eventually make his way to the Wolfpack’s 35-yard line with five seconds to spare. On the final play of regulation, Lovett found senior wide receiver Alex Harris at the five yard line, but could not push himself into the endzone, ending the game at 24-17.

The Warriors will play their last road game of the season this Friday, October 20 against the Marietta Blue Devils with kickoff at 7:30pm.