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NHS muzzles Bulldogs

By By Matthew Nascone
Travion Lockett broke one tackle, then another and another before sprinting for the end zone in the Northview Chiefs' 33-26 victory over the Marianna Bulldogs Friday night. Lockett ran 67 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown and the Chiefs' lockdown defense did its job to seal the 33-26 win in the team's Homecoming game.
"If it wasn't for my offensive line I never would have been able to break it," Lockett, a senior running back, said. "They did what they had to do and I did what I had to do."
The play was the fullback trap left and NHS head coach Cody Keene said the offense had been attempting the play all game.
"We had been trying to pop it all night and Travion popped it and had a great run," Keene said. "He got some great downfield blocks and he was gone."
Lockett's burst may have been the game winning score, but the Northview defense was what kept the game close, Keene said.
"We had a good plan defensively and we executed it well," Keene said. "I am proud of the kids and the coaching staff.
Keene said this game showed him a lot about the character of the now 5-0 Chiefs.
"They (Marianna) had a big and fast team, but we came out and were the more physical team," he said. "We have told these kids that we can't let anyone come in to our house and be more physical than us and we didn't let that happen tonight. There were some good licks out there on both sides."
Marianna's running back, Phillip Sylvester, ran hard at the Chiefs all night and Keene said he noticed something.
"Phillip Sylvester is a tremendous football player," he said.
Sylvester struck first with a 28-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead. Marianna scored one more touchdown in the first quarter on a pass from the quarterback to widen their lead to 12-0.
Northview got on the board on a 30-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kyle Sebestyen to junior running back Nakita Myles on fourth and 26. As the packed NHS stands erupted the Chiefs closed the gap to 12-7 on a converted PAT by Sebestyen.
Sebestyen finished the night 6-for-10 with 96 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Myles caught two passes for 28 yards and one touchdown and also rushed 17 times for 57 yards.
Sylvester took the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown and put his team back up by double digits, 20-7 after a converted two-point try.
The Chiefs marched down the field for another scoring drive and pushed it in on a 26-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Deonta Davison from Sebestyen with 21 seconds left before halftime. The score cut the Bulldog lead to 20-13 after a failed PAT.
"Deonta really made some big plays for us tonight," Keene said.
Davison caught four balls for 63 yards and one score.
The second half began much like the first half, with Marianna recovering a Northview fumble on the second play of the half and taking the ball 40 yards for a touchdown and a 26-13 lead. But this was the last time Marianna would sniff the end zone.
Keene said that touchdown was the only mistake the defense made in the second half.
"We only had one letdown in the second half when they scored after the turnover," he said. "I can't say enough about the effort of the players and the coaching staff. They really stepped up and shut them down."
After Northview was unable to move the ball on their next drive, senior linebacker Sean Little literally ripped momentum back in the Chiefs' favor as he stripped the ball from a Bulldog player and ran 18 yards to pay dirt. After Sebestyen connected on the PAT the score was 26-20.
Junior linebacker Trent Freeman broke through the Bulldog punt protection and blocked a punt with just under two minutes to go in the third quarter. The Chiefs set up with great field position on the MHS 15 yard line and with 50 seconds remaining in the quarter Lockett rumbled across the goal line from three yards out for his first of two touchdowns on the evening to tie the game at 26-26. He rushed 13 times for 141 yards.
Lockett busted his 67-yarder with less than one minute remaining in the game. The Bulldogs had one last attempt from the Northview 46 yard line, but freshman defensive back Tarus Thomas intercepted the last ditch effort to seal the victory for the Chiefs on Homecoming.
Keene said after a 2-for-4 PAT performance the Chiefs will need to work on the kicking game before next week's game at Wewahitchka, but overall it was a good victory.
"I am proud of these kids," he said. "And I can't say enough about their effort out there tonight."
Kickoff against Wewahitchka is 7:30 p.m. on the road