MILTON, Ga. – Northview’s players and coaches took a little trip back in time last Friday night, getting a look at how things were for the school’s first football team a decade ago.
The Titans played at Cambridge, North Fulton’s newest high school, which is in the midst of its first season of playing football, as well as being the first year for the school.
Ten years ago, Northview went 0-10 against a varsity schedule made up almost entirely of opponents in the state’s largest classification. Cambridge is also playing a AAAAA schedule this season, the only difference being that there is a newly created AAAAAA classification in Georgia.
The Titans took one beating after another in their initial season, following it up with another 0-10 record the next year.
This time, Northview was on the other end of the outcome. The Titans romped to a 62-27 victory, their first this season after four opening losses.
The win, however, may have come at a price, as three of the team’s defensive starters were ejected in the game’s final minute when tempers flared and a minor skirmish broke out. By state high school rules, any player ejected must sit out the next game, likely leaving the Titans short-handed this week.
Northview plays at home Friday against Creekview (1-0, 4-1), the top team in the sub-region, and given the team’s defensive play in its first four games, the Titans (1-0, 1-4) can’t afford to be playing without three starters.
The Titans scored 100 points in their first four games, but gave up more than 200, losing each game by at least 18 points despite putting 27 points on the scoreboard three straight weeks.
“We can’t stop people,” Northview coach Chad Davenport said after his team’s win over Cambridge, which is essentially a junior varsity team trying to play a varsity schedule, as was Northview a decade ago.
The Titans’ defense overwhelmed a young Cambridge offensive line, allowing just two first downs through three quarters that were not the result of Northview penalties.
Apart from a 49-yard run in the first quarter by a freshman Cambridge tailback, the Titans held the Bears (0-1, 0-5) to minus 21 yards rushing. Northview led 62-7 midway through the third period, with the Bears’ only score to that point coming on a kickoff return.
Cambridge scored late in the quarter on a fumble return, and hit a pair of touchdown passes in the final two-and-a-half minutes to exceed their point total from the previous four games combined.
The Titans led 42-7 at the half, scoring touchdowns on five of six possessions. Nathan Phillips scored for the defense on a 49-yard fumble return to make it 21-7 less than seven minutes into the game.
Terrence Upshaw scored Northview’s first two touchdowns on runs of 21 and 12 yards, and D.J. Pearson connected with Isaac Hart on a 65-yard pass to put the Titans ahead 28-7 with two minutes left in the period.
Upshaw added a third scoring run and Pearson connected with Zach Sullivan for 18 yards to make it 42-7 at the half.
Pearson, who completed 17 of 18 passes for 233 yards, tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to Anterrious Green early in the third period, and the Titans wrapped up the scoring on a recovered fumbled in the Cambridge end zone and a 46-yard run by backup tailback Ryan Gaddy.
Upshaw, who rushed for 232 yards earlier in the season against Lambert with scoring runs of 67, 80 and 60 yards, carried eight times for 101 yards against Cambridge. Gaddy added 99 yards in eight attempts.
“We’ve done a lot of good things on offense,” Davenport said. “We’ve scored points and put a lot of yards up.
“But we’ve got to find some combination that works on defense.”
Upshaw has begun to see some action on defense, which will likely result in Gaddy seeing more action at tailback.
With three key sub-region games in the next four weeks, the Titans need to find some defensive answers, especially for their last two games prior to the region playoffs Nov. 9.