Warriors continue winning streak after conquering Marietta 35-21


Eladia Scott and Malique Card

September 9, NC held a pep rally Friday afternoon, before the highly awaited match against the Marietta Blue Devils (1-3). The NC varsity football team (2-1) won against the Blue Devils in the past two seasons, which set high expectations for the Warriors. The team shifted multiple athletes’ positions and tactics around because of senior quarterback Malachi Singleton’s (3) absence, but stood victorious in their 35-21 win against Marietta for the third year consecutively.

Eladia Scott and Malique Card, Reporter

NC’s first pep rally of the year set the tone for the football game against the Marietta Blue Dev

ils(1-3). The fall sports pep rally Friday, September 9, featured NC’s student body. Students witnessed NC’s marching band performance, a tug of war contest and fall sports teams’ captains competing in a “finish the song lyric” match. The pep rally and luau theme excited students for the night’s game. Students expected a blowout, as NC previously defeated Marietta two seasons in a row; but NC’s senior lead quarterback, Malachi Singletons’s (3) absence from this game due to injury, caused a shift in the team’s usual lineup. 

The Blue Devils kicked off to the Warriors, creating the game’s first play. The Warriors failed to gain yards while the Blue Devils held their defense. On fourth down, the Warriors punted the ball, and Marietta’s wide receiver put the Blue Devils on the board in the first quarter with a flashy one-handed catch (0-7). Once the Warriors regained possession of the ball, they continued with a slow start. During the Blue Devil’s possession, their quarterback threw a pick to NC senior safety Jordan Lonas (4) on the Warrior’s 26-yard line, earning an advantage for NC. The Warriors managed to move up the field with runs from NC senior running-back David Mbadinga (6), ensuing his dash through the endzone that marked the night’s first touchdown. However, Marietta blocked the extra point, sitting NC under them with 6-7.

“I think because Malachi was gone, it took offense a little bit to catch up, and we [NC] put it down defensively in the first half. I thought we played well. It was a 7-6 score, so we were only down by a point. We were playing on some short fields, but we held it down. Certain players played well on our defense, but really I think the offense without their leader came together and did some great things, so some of the younger guys and some of the guys were put in different positions, and the offensive coaching staff did a great job. I think they were the ones who really pushed us forward,” defensive coach Mitch Henghold said.

Approaching the second half, NC kicked the ball to Marietta, and the Blue Devils moved up the field with short passes. Marietta moved the area to the one-yard line, where they scored (13-6) and the Blue Devils earned the extra point to put them up 14-6. Most of the Warrior’s offensive pressure came from Mbadinga, who scored again on the one-yard line (14-12). NC sophomore quarterback Nick Grimstead ran a sneak into the two-point conversion (14-14). Marietta received the kick but failed to maintain possession after fumbling the ball. Lonas recovered the ball and placed the Warriors on the 17-yard line. 

Grimstead passed the ball to senior wide receiver Branch Bennett (12) for a 19-yard touchdown (20-14). Senior kicker Javier Morales (93) scored his first field goal of the night, changing the score to 21-14. The Blue Devils couldn’t hold onto the ball and fumbled a second time. Mbadinga rushed for 37 yards, and NC junior wide receiver David Eziomume ran 22-yards into the endzone (28-14). 

The Blue Devils’ quarterback scored on a seven-yard run (28-21). The Warriors quickly traveled up the field as Mbadinga rushed from the one-yard line. During the game’s last four minutes, both teams failed to achieve points. The Warriors earned a win with a final score of 35-21.

 “I was more disappointed personally in the second half because we weren’t sound, meaning we weren’t where we were supposed to be all the time. Then that last score all of a sudden went from the 50 to the 10 we just gave up 35 yards and two scores defensively in penalties, and we usually don’t do that. The calls were proper, and we know the calls, but for whatever reason, we were not fitting in the right gaps, so the penalties and not lining or showing up in the right gap was frustrating,” Henghold said.