Heartbreaking Loss

Published 3:30 pm Monday, October 3, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
After a 3-0 start to the season, the Northview Chiefs were riding high and thinking big for the remainder of the schedule.
Two tough road losses brought them back to earth, but all assumed coming back home to take on the Wewahitchka Gators would be just the medicine the Chiefs needed.
Unfortunately, the Gators spoiled the Chiefs' homecoming by taking a hard-fought 20-12 win late in the fourth quarter.
Northview faced four Gator turnovers in the game, as well as a bad snap on a punt to put them in excellent field position, but were only able to manage two scores from the opportunities en route to the loss.
Northview senior Kayla Presley was crowned Homecoming Queen prior to the start of the game.
After the two teams traded punts to begin the game, Northview senior linebacker pressured the Gator quarterback into making a poor throw, which defensive end Cedric McKinley snagged out of midair to put the Chiefs in excellent field position.
After driving to the Gator one yard line, the Chiefs seemingly scored on a one yard Nakita Myles plunge, but it was called back on an illegal procedure penalty. The Chiefs turned the ball over on downs following the penalty.
Neither team would seriously threaten again until late in the first half, when the Gators struck first with 1:25 remaining in the second quarter. The extra point was no good.
A strange sequence then followed, as the Chiefs fumbled away their ensuing possession. However, some attempted trickery by the Gators backfired as their wide receiver attempted a lateral on a downfield pass completion that was snagged by defensive back Darius Austin and returned to midfield.
Senior quarterback Courtney Whatley then entered the game for sophomore Kyle Sebestyen, who had made his first start, and immediately sparked the Chief offense, driving them down the field before hooking up with senior running back Ahmadh Simpson on a nine yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds remaining in the half. A bad snap prevented an extra point attempt, sending the teams to the locker room tied at six.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Chiefs capitalized on a John Donalson fumble recovery at midfield, driving 50 yards for the touchdown and scoring after Simpson made an amazing diving catch to haul in a Whatley pass. Sebestyen converted the ensuing PAT, but an offside call which the officials did not whistle until after the kick had been made wiped the points off the board for the Chiefs. Head coach Cody Keene then elected to go for two, but the try was no good, giving Northview a 12-6 lead with 9:47 remaining in the game.
Wewahitchka then mounted an impressive drive to tie the score, driving the length of the field and scoring on a 19 yard pass play. The extra point was again no good, knotting the score at 12 with 5:59 to play.
The Chiefs went nowhere on their ensuing possession and punted the ball away. Wewahitchka once again sliced through the weary Chief defense for a game winning drive, capping it off with a two yard touchdown run with 46 seconds remaining in the game. The two point conversion was good.
A last-gasp effort from the Chiefs was foiled when Whatley was intercepted with 15 seconds remaining in the game.
Northview head coach Cody Keene said there was very little one could say about the game – the Chiefs had simply lost.
"It was a tough loss," Keene said. "Our kids fought hard, their kids fought hard, we just didn't make the plays to win. We played hard, but they played hard to. It was an excellent game and we didn't do enough to win it."
Sophomore running back Nakita Myles was injured in the second quarter on a late hit on the sidelines which was not called by the officiating crew. Keene said he thought Myles would be fine.
"We haven't had a chance to really look at him," he said. "We think it was an ankle. It doesn't appear to be anything serious."
Luckily, the Chiefs will have an unplanned week off to recover from the tough loss, as John Paul Catholic in Tallahassee – the Chiefs' next scheduled opponent – postponed the game until October 21.
Northview's next game will now be their first district game against South Walton High School next Friday night in Bratt.

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