Chiefs beat Jay, Fla. 31-13 in 1R regional quarterfinal Friday [with video]

Published 11:00 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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JAY, Fla. – Northview’s Joe Wright and DK Kelly scored two touchdowns each to help lead the Chiefs to a 31-13 victory over Jay, Fla. tonight in a wet FHSAA Class 1R regional quarterfinal at Benny Russell Field at Merle V. North Stadium.

Wright and Kelly scored one touchdown each in the first and second halves during a postseason contest where rain was a part of the story throughout. The rain was steady through the first three quarters, let up at the start of the fourth, but came back with a steady fall late in the game.

“That was just a great atmosphere,” Chiefs head football coach Wes Summerford said. “Jay is first class. They have a first class program, and are improving every year. Coach (Brian) Watson does a good job with his team. I’m proud of our kids. There were times we have had to fight through some adversity (during the season). I’m proud of them for putting this together in the playoffs. That’s something we preached all week. It’s a 0-0 season. Whatever your resume says doesn’t matter.

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“They embraced it this week in practice,” he said.

With the victory, Northview (4-7) advances to the regional semifinal next Fri., Nov. 17, where it will face Bozeman, Fla. BHS is a spotless 10-0 on the season.

Wright and Kelly’s touchdowns in the first half came from 6 and 35 yards, respectively. In the second half, Wright scored from 56 yards, and Kelly scored from 40 yards out. Brandon Ferguson was a perfect 4-of-4 in extra-point attempts, foreshadowing a foot on a long field goal try later in the game.

Summerford said both Wright and Kelly have focused on improving every week, and with quarterback Wyatt Scruggs in the running mix, it gives defenses a hard time.

The coach added Wright ran up the middle hard, and Kelly did well, providing elusive runs on the edge.

NHS led 14-7 at halftime, and Wright’s second score of the night put the Chiefs ahead 21-7 in the third quarter.

Defensively, the Chiefs bucked up, stopping the Royals’ balanced run and pass attack during the contest.

Summerford said he felt the defense did well.

I think we gave them some fourth downs, and give them some credit,” he said. “I think if we got off the field on fourth down, it’s a different game at the half.”

Northview’s Tyler Raegan caught an interception pass with 8:53 left in the third quarter, and made a good play in the fourth quarter to take away a scoring pass by JHS.

Jay’s Brock Stout scored on a 5-yard run with 7:42 left in the first quarter, and Jacob Lewis got the point after try to tie it in the first quarter. In the fourth, quarterback Hayden Morris connected with Ethan McDonald on a 12-yard pass with 9:18 to go. The point after try was good, and the score was cut to 28-13.

Some time later, Ferguson hit a 32-yard field goal with 26.1 seconds left.