All tied up

Published 11:40 am Saturday, August 24, 2013

Northview’s Keondrae Lett breaks away from a Bay defender to pick up yardage in the Chiefs’ 6-6 tie, in their preseason game Friday.

Northview’s Keondrae Lett breaks away from a Bay defender to pick up yardage in the Chiefs’ 6-6 tie, in their preseason game Friday.

Northview head coach Sid Wheatley said his defending Florida Class 1A state champion Chiefs got what they needed out of Friday night’s tie with the Bay High School Tornadoes in a preseason match up — a chance to find out exactly where they need to be improve.

“We’re not going to know exactly how we did until we look at the film,” Wheatley said, after the 6-6 tie that saw Northview players gain some momentum at times, while making mistakes at others. “There were a lot of penalties, but this is big for our guys. Just a chance to get out there and hit someone other than their teammates.”

Wheatley’s squad did plenty of hitting in the first half of Friday’s game, holding Bay’s offense scoreless through two quarters. But the Tornadoes were equally stingy, stopping the Chiefs’ varsity squad through the air and squelching any spark their running game provided the offense.

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Despite an uneventful varsity showing, the junior-varsity lineup for both teams began the second half with a bang. Both teams were able to put together strong offensive drives.

With just 1:34 left in the third quarter, Bay finally found paydirt with a 30-yard touchdown run, but missed the extra point, leaving them with a 6-0 lead over the Chiefs.

The Northview JV responded quickly to Bay’s score, picking up a Tornado fumble near midfield on Bay’s next offensive drive. The momentum shift seemed to transfer to the Chiefs’ running game, as NHS went 49 yards on the ground in just three plays to set up a third down and goal from the Bay 1-yard line.

A 1-yard touchdown reception by Hunter Sherouse tied the game for Northview, but the Chiefs’ extra point attempt missed wide left, leaving the score at 6-6 with just 37 seconds left in regulation.

The Chiefs were able to muster one last shot at a victory after Jaylen Parker intercepted a Bay pass, setting up an NHS field goal attempt from the 30-yard-line, but another miss wide left ended Northview’s shot at a preseason victory.

“We’re young,” Wheatley said after the game. “We have a lot of inexperienced guys, but hopefully we’re going to be able to look at the film and correct some of the mistakes.”

Wheatley said his team would work on fixing its execution in practice, in order to be prepared when the Chiefs meet Bozeman next week.

“We’re going to work on our cadence all week,” Wheatley said. “We made way too many mistakes.”

Wheatley touted his varsity defense as a unit that played well, by not allowing any first half points.

“They bent, but they didn’t break,” he said. “Bay has a big, physical team and our guys really competed hard and fought hard. Offensively, we were able to make plays at times, but we have to work on our mistakes.”

The Chiefs will welcome the Bozeman Bucks to town next Friday to kick off the regular season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Bratt.