Overtime win keeps Northwood playoff chase alive
Northwood defensive back Kitrel Evans broke up two passes in the end zone in overtime to preserve a 31-24 win by Northwood (8-2, 4-2) over Chapel Hill (3-7, 2-4), Friday night in Pittsboro.
Evans batted down Grant Deselm passes intended for Albert Nyamayaro on second and fourth down. Deselm didn’t complete any of his four passes from the 10-yard line, as Chapel Hill saw its playoff hopes disappear with the loss.
It was no surprise that Deselm was looking for Nyamayaro. The receiver was called up from JV earlier in the week, along with running back Ricki McDowell to replace injured Tigers players. Nyamayaro had 163 yards on six catches in his varsity debut. He scored twice, catching passes of 19 and 49 yards.
McDowell also had an impressive showing in his first varsity game, gaining 54 yards on 17 carries.
Northwood got the ball first in overtime, and Kadarus Rone gained the entire 10 yards in two carries, scoring from three yards out. Rone led all rushers with 69 yards on 12 carries. He also scored Northwood’s first points of the night on a 47-yard pass from Ti Pinnix.
Northwood survived a rough first half for Pinnix on a rainy night. Pinnix was 4 of 16 in the first half, with most of his 61 yards coming from the pass to Rone. Pinnix then completed his first five passes of the second half and finished 14 of 34 for 184 yards with two touchdowns passing along with a 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
A Brandon Harrington interception set up the Pinnix touchdown run with 10:22 left in the fourth quarter, but Chapel Hill tied the game with an impressive drive at the end of regulation. The Tigers were backed up to their own 4-yard line on third down, but managed to march 96 yards to tie the game on a Deselm pass to fullback Brandon Wendel with 17 seconds remaining. Deselm finished with 280 yards on 19 of 40 passing. He had three touchdown passes but also threw two interceptions.
Jalen Smith had 109 yards receiving on six catches for Northwood, with 102 yards coming in the second half.
Chapel Hill hosts Cedar Ridge to finish the regular season next Friday. Northwood takes its playoff hopes to Cardinal Gibbons for its final regular season game.