North Stafford’s players celebrated with the ringing of the symbolic “Victory Bell” at the end of Friday night’s Commonwealth District rivalry clash with visiting Stafford.
But the Wolverines’ 28–20 victory did not come easily against a determined Indians team that refused to fold after trailing for the entire contest.
“Stafford came out and battled their butts off,” North Stafford first-year coach Neil Sullivan said. “We were able to hold on and get this done at the end. Now we have to turn the page and get ready for Colonial Forge.”
The Wolverines (4–2, 1–1) visit the surging Eagles next week in another big district showdown. Colonial Forge knocked Mountain View from the unbeaten ranks with a 24–13 win on Friday.
Sullivan hopes his team will be able to cut down on its penalties in that game. Against Stafford (1–5, 0–2), the Wolverines were flagged for more than 100 yards, and some negated scoring opportunities.
“The penalties were a huge factor, especially in the second half,” Sullivan said. “We have to look at the ones we committed and polish up before next week.”
Their success against Stafford featured another strong performance by quarterback Jamir Boyd and a big night by the defense, which limited the Indians to negative yards on the ground and got the job done when it needed to.
Boyd completed 13 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns, two to wide receiver Javon Swinton and one to running back Tevin White.
Boyd jump-started the North Stafford offense with a 43-yard sprint for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to get the Wolverines on the scoreboard and help them overcome a sluggish start. He followed that with a touchdown pass to White right before halftime to put North Stafford in front 16–0 at the break.
The 16-point lead shrunk quickly in the third quarter. On Stafford’s first play from scrimmage, Hayden Mesimer caught quarterback Jack Koetter’s pass down the middle and rambled 58 yards for a touchdown.
The Wolverines responded with an eight-play scoring drive to regain their momentum. Swinton and Boyd hooked up for a nifty 41-yard touchdown.
The lead grew to 28–7 early in the fourth quarter when Boyd connected with Swinton again, this time from 36 yards out. The play capped a 45-yard march and appeared to put North Stafford in the driving seat.
But Stafford made a statement in the final 10 minutes behind Koetter, who finished the game with 180 yards passing and three touchdowns. His 49-yard strike to Jordan Williams trimmed the North Stafford lead to 28–13 with 10:51 remaining.
With the Wolverines’ aggressive defense holding the Stafford running game in check, Koetter found success through the air one more time, tossing a 10-yard touchdown to Brian Glenn-Horton in the closing seconds.
With their emotional win over the Indians behind them, the Wolverines can now focus their attention on Colonial Forge.
“We came out a little flat tonight and didn’t make some plays, but this was a good win,” Swinton said. “We’re looking forward to next week. We think that game is a center-stone of where we are and where we can go this season.”
NS—Jamir Boyd 43-yard run (Javon Swinton pass from Jamir Boyd).
NS—Tevin white 14-yard pass from Jamir Boyd (Elisha Brown pass from Jamir Boyd).
St—Hayden Mesimer 58-yard pass from Jack Koetter (Blake Childress kick).
NS—Javon Swinton 41-yard pass from Jamir Boyd (pass failed).
NS—Javon Swinton 36-yard pass from Jamir Boyd (pass failed).
St—Jordan Williams 49-yard pass from Jack Koetter (kick failed).
St—Brian Glenn-Horton 10-yard pass from Jack Koetter (Blake Childress kick).
RUSHING: Stafford—Jack Koetter 15-(-38); Kiori Edwards 9-20; Vincent McGovern 1-2; Devin Lardge 3-16; Hayden Mesimer 1-(-1). North Stafford—Jamir Boyd 14-67, TD; Tevin white 15-52; Elisha Brown 5-22.
PASSING: Stafford—Jack Koetter 7-17-0, 180 yards, 3 TD. North Stafford—Jamir Boyd 13-19-0, 249 yards, 3 TD.
RECEIVING: Stafford—Jordan Williams 1-49; Kiori Edwards 2-8; Joseph Shortt 1-31; Hayden Mesimer 1-58, TD; Brian Glenn-Horton 2-33, TD. North Stafford—Javon Swinton 5-123, 2TD; Holt Egan 4-93; Tevin White 2-32, TD; Nashawn Leftridge 1-9.