A Northview running back maintains control of the ball as a Cottondale defender attempts to strip it on the Chiefs’ way to a blowout victory in the first round of the Florida High School playoffs.

Northview advances

Published 10:58am Monday, November 19, 2012

At the start of Northview’s opening-round playoff game, it looked like it might be a back-and-forth affair between the two teams. However, that was not to be the case, as the Chiefs won the game by an overwhelming score of 57-6.

By the second play of the game, the Chiefs took an early lead 7-0 on a 42-yard run by LaMikal Kyles.

The Hornets answered with a score on their first drive, too. Senior running back Sheldon Vann was able to carve out the Northview defense, culminating in a 1-yard run for a touchdown. The Hornets went for the two-point conversion but failed leaving the Chiefs on top 7-6.

After the teams traded a few unsuccessful drives, including one drive where Hornets defensive lineman Ladell Johnson intercepted a Kevin Vaughan pass, the Chiefs settled in and Vaughan found redemption with a 21-yard run for a touchdown to increase the Chiefs lead to 20-6.

This time the Chiefs went for the two-point conversion and Vaughan successfully completed his pass to Brannon Freeman to make it 22-6.

After the defense forced Cottondale to punt, LaMikal Kyles went to work again. He scored a 30 yard touchdown to put the score 29-6 in favor of the Chiefs.

On the ensuing drive, just as the Hornets were gaining momentum, Neiko Robinson intercepted a pass at the Chiefs five yard line and ran it 95 yards back for a touchdown just before halftime to give the team a comfortable 36-6 cushion.

After the defense forced a turnover on downs, Vaughan once again ran the ball into the end zone to build the team’s lead to 43-6.

On the following drive, Neino Robinson had a huge defensive stop on third down. This time, the Hornets thought they would play it safe. Unfortunately for them, putting the ball to Neino Robinson isn’t always the safest choice. He did what he has done all season: return the punt for a touchdown to put the Chiefs in a commanding 50-6 lead.

“I jokingly told somebody on the sideline ‘I’m not sure if you could tackle that guy in a five-foot box,’” head coach Sid Wheatley said. “You really don’t want to see that guy in the open field as an opposing team because he’s so elusive and he kind of makes people miss. He’s kind of electric back there. You kind of hold your breath every time he gets the ball. It was a big play, and then obviously Neiko running the interception back. We got seven points on special teams, we got another seven on a defensive touchdown.”

The Chiefs were able to add even more points when Juron Myles caused defenders to miss multiple tackles. It looked like he would go 81 yards for the touchdown, but a defender made sure he didn’t miss, causing Myles to fumble the ball. Luckily for the Chiefs, teammate Cameron Newsome was there to grab the fumble and take it into the end zone, which made it 57-6 in favor of the Chiefs.

Offensively, Wheatley was very impressed with Kyles play.

“We’ll look at the film and I understand Freeport won tonight, so we’ll look and see what they do and see what hopefully best fits us against what they do defensively,” Wheatley said. “I’d like to also kind of brag on LaMikal Kyles. Really the past two weeks he’s been a big-time runner for us in the back field and he’s running with a lot of authority right now and a lot of confidence. It’s great to see him do that.”
Following the game, Wheatley said defensive adjustments were a big key in the team’s win.

“The first time they got the ball they were able to drive the thing down,” he said. “They were running an unbalanced formation with some heavy bodies over there on one side, kind of loading up on us. I kind of felt like with the defense we were using at that time, we probably needed to get out of it based on what they were doing and we kind of jumped into an even front, which obviously worked a lot better. We were able to slow them down and kind of get some bigger bodies on the field to go against that big front they had going.”

Northview will have another home game for the next round of the playoffs, the regional finals against the Freeport Bulldogs to be played this upcoming Friday with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.

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