Chiefs stung by Hornets in second round

Published 1:14 am Saturday, November 23, 2013

Northview players take the field in Cottondale.

Northview players take the field in Cottondale.

COTTONDALE, Fla. — The defending Florida Class 1A state champion Northview Chiefs were knocked out in the second round of the playoffs, with a 34-28 loss Friday to Cottondale. Cottondale scored the game-winning touchdown with just 41 seconds left, and Northview’s comeback attempt came up short.

Brannon Freeman scored twice on the ground for the Chiefs (4-7), while Keondrae Lett and Daulton Tullis each scored a touchdown. Ladarius Thomas ended the night with 101 yards on 11 carries.

Cottondale was paced by Norris Calhoun, who ran for 181 yards on 33 carries and scored three touchdowns.

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“I know they’re hurting,” Northview coach Sid Wheatley said about his players. “They played extremely hard.”

The Chiefs looked to secure a 28-26 win after Brannon Freeman intercepted a Justin Klotz pass with less than two minutes left. Before the interception, though, the Hornet wide receiver ran into the back of Freeman and the play was negated because of a defensive pass interference call.

After the game, Wheatley said he disagreed with the call.

“I saw things differently on a few things,” Wheatley said of the officiating. “I felt like we got pushed. It’s big; if that call goes the other way we might have come away with a win.”

Wheatley added that the Chiefs could’ve played better in the second half and not let a penalty call dictate the outcome of the game.

“We could’ve moved the ball better in the second half,” he said.

The Chiefs scored on all but one drive in the second quarter and held a 22-12 halftime lead. Northview only scored six points in the second half.

The Chiefs scored on their first drive of the game, going 54 yards in 3 minutes, 20 seconds. Freeman ran and caught a 13-yard pass from Daulton Tullis to start the game. Tullis completed two passes for 30 yards to Neino Robinson, before Tullis scored from a yard out.

Northview missed the extra point, but took a 6-0 lead with 8:40 remaining.

The Northview defense forced a punt on Cottondale’s opening drive, but gave the ball right back on the ensuing drive when Thomas fumbled at the 9-yard line.

The Hornets easily scored from there, on a 2-yard run by Calhoun. A run by JaVontai Hall failed to convert the 2-point play.

The Chiefs next drive stalled on the Hornets’ 25-yard line after a pass from Tullis to Robinson was incomplete. Among the highlights on the drive was a 15-yard pass from Tullis to Cameron Newsome.

Cottondale milked the clock on its next drive, a 15-play possession that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. The drive culminated with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Klotz to Shaundrae Macroy. A pass from Klotz to Calhoun failed to pick up the two-point play, and Cottondale led 12-6.

Robinson returned the kickoff back to the Hornets’ 25-yard line, where the Chiefs went to work. Thomas broke a 22-yard run, before Freeman scored on a 3-yard run. A run by Tullis converted the 2-point play to give the Chiefs a 14-12 lead with 7:54 left in the first half.

Newsome intercepted a Klotz pass on a third-and-10 play from midfield and Northview took over at its own 40-yard line.

Freeman, Robinson and Thomas broke runs of 6, 14 and 8 yards respectively, before Tullis connected with Newsome for a 10-yard gain. After a series of runs, Freeman scored the touchdown from 3 yards out. Robinson ran in the two-point conversion to give Northview a 22-12 lead.

The Chiefs later forced a turnover on downs on a fourth-and-goal play from their own 6-yard line.

Northview opened the half with an onside kick, but the play was called back because of a delay-of-game penalty. Cottondale took over at the Chiefs’ 45-yard line.

Shaundre Macroy broke a 16-yard run and Klotz completed a 15-yard pass to Emmanual Lockhart, before completing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Lockhart. Calhoun ran in the two-point conversion to cut the Northview lead to 22-20 with 8:30 left in the third quarter.

The teams traded possessions until Cottondale’s Calhoun scored on an 11-yard run to give the Hornets the lead with 6:01 left in the fourth quarter.

Down 26-22, Northview’s Thomas broke a 54-yard run. Keondrae Lett finished the drive off with a 2-yard touchdown run. A run by Tullis failed to convert for two points, but Northview took the lead at 28-26 with 4:22 left.

Cottondale would start a lengthy drive, which included the defensive pass interference call on Freeman and ended with a 4-yard run by Calhoun. The two-point conversion was successful and Cottondale took a 34-28 lead with 41 seconds left.

Northview took over at its own 41-yard line and Freeman caught a 30-yard pass from Tullis to get to the Cottondale 29.

A Tullis pass went off Newsome’s hands near the goal line with two seconds remaining, before a last-chance pass play to Lett fell 19 yards short.