Perfect season ends
By By Matthew Nascone
The second playoff appearance in as many years opened with a bang Friday night for the Northview Chiefs. The Chiefs lost the coin toss, but received the football and senior fullback Travion Lockett returned it 85 yards for a quick score.
But neither team moved the ball for the rest of the first quarter and NHS lost 20-14 to the visiting Chipley Tigers.
"(Lockett's return) was big for us," NHS head coach Cody Keene said. "But it was a tough way to lose. I was proud of our kids for the work they put in and their commitment."
The two teams swapped possession until Chipley tied the ball game on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 5:55 left in the first half. PAT good, 7-7. After the Chiefs were stymied on their next drive, Chipley took it in for another score with 52 seconds left in the half. Following a successful PAT, the Tigers had a 14-7 halftime lead.
The story of the first half was all the laundry on the field. The referee crew threw 20 penalty flags in the first half of play.
"We made a lot of mistakes and had too many penalties," Keene said.
The defensive units on both sides of the field came up strong again as the second half opened, but Lockett again broke through the Tigers line for three big plays in a row. After the Chiefs moved backwards twice on two false start penalties, Lockett snagged a screen pass from junior quarterback Darius Austin and sprinted 36 yards. Two plays later he busted a 32-yard run that included a hurdle of a Tiger defender on the way to the end zone.
Lockett was stopped short of the goal line at the two-yard line, but he ran around the Chipley defense into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. Junior place kicker Kyle Sebestyen knocked the PAT through and the score was tied for the second time, 14-14, with 1:24 to go in the third quarter.
Following a return into Northview territory, the Tigers scored the final points of the game with 10:29 left in the game. The PAT was missed and Chipley led 20-14. The defensive struggle continued until the final whistle.
The Chiefs threatened one more time and took the ball to the Chipley two-yard line, but could not get the ball in the end zone. A personal foul and an interception led to the clock being run out by Chipley and the Chiefs looking towards next year.
"We are going to keep working and work harder," Keene said. "We don't ever stop working. We will be fine for next year. We have a good group of juniors who will be great leaders for us next year."