Northview loses district championship game

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Keondrae Lett pushes the ball over for a touchdown late in the game against Baker.

Keondrae Lett pushes the ball over for a touchdown late in the game against Baker.

The Northview Chiefs got down early in a district clash against an undefeated Baker squad and never recovered, losing 24-20 in Bratt.

The loss secured the Class 1A, District 1 title for the Gators and means that the defending state champion Chiefs will travel in the first round of the playoffs in two weeks.

Coach Sid Wheatley said his team committed too many mistakes, but showed a lot of heart in the comeback attempt.

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“Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, mistakes,” he said. “We dug ourselves into a hole. I think we had four turnovers.”

Wheatley said the team also committed a couple of big penalties, such as an intentional grounding call against Northview’s quarterback Daulton Tullis that helped to stall a drive late in the fourth quarter. Cameron Newsome was called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, which resulted in his ejection from the game.

Wheatley praised his team for its competitiveness during the comeback attempt, in which they closed a 24-6 gap in the second half.

“The kids fought,” he said. “I know they’re hurting.”

The Chiefs trailed 17-6 at halftime after scoring on a Ladarius Thomas touchdown in the first quarter. Baker answered though with a Malcolm Griffith field goal, a 79-yard Kodi Moen punt return and a touchdown pass from Jon Beck to Josh Long.

Baker took its biggest lead of the game after receiving the kick to start the second half. The Gators scored on a five-play, 49-yard drive.

D.J. Thomas ran three times for 14 yards before Beck found Richard Stoutenburgh for a 35-yard touchdown.

Northview moved the ball well on the ensuing drive. Tullis hit Neino Robinson on pass plays of 11 and 8 yards. He connected with Brannon Freeman for 13 yards and Nick Lambert for 17 yards.

Thomas ran the ball three times for 9 yards and Keondrae Lett carried it for 9 yards. The Chiefs moved the ball to the 12-yard line before Tullis was sacked and fumbled with 6:46 left in the third.

Baker’s Thomas fumbled on the next play from scrimmage. It was recovered by Tydre’ Bradley and the Chiefs started at the Gator 26-yard line.

Lett and Tullis ran for 10 yards, to the 16-yard line. Tullis then hit Freeman for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good and Baker led 24-12 with 5:03 left in the third quarter.

Baker moved the ball well on its next drive — a long, 16-play drive. Runs by Beck, D.J.Thomas and Stroheker netted the Gators 43 yards on the drive. A fourth-and-9 pass that sailed into the end zone was broken up by Northview’s Neino Robinson.

The Chiefs’ Tullis completed two passes of 19 yards and 6 yards to Robinson and Freeman, respectively, before throwing an interception to Baker’s Jacob Nixon that ended the drive with 9:55 left in the fourth quarter.

Baker’s Beck competed an 8-yard pass to Kodi Nixon, before the Gators were stopped on fourth down at their own 44-yard line.

The Chiefs took over and immediately picked up yards through the air. Tullis fired a pass to Lett for 13 yards, and then hit Robinson for 27 yards. Thomas carried the ball for a yard, before Lett punched it into the end zone from 2 yards out.

The two-point play, a completion from Tullis to Freeman, was good. The Chiefs brought the score within four at 24-20.

The Gators were forced to punt after a Northview sack of Beck with 4:44 remaining in the game.

The Chiefs took over at their own 48-yard line and immediately moved the ball, on a 22-yard pass from Tullis to Robinson. Tullis was called for intentional grounding on the next play, a first-and-10 from Baker’s 28-yard line.

The penalty moved the Chiefs to second-and-25 from the Baker 41-yard line. Tullis completed a 1-yard pass to Robinson and threw three straight incomplete passes to end the game.