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Comeback too late for Northridge against Pelham


Northridge running back Bo Scarbrough (6) stiff-arms Pelham defender Antonio London. Scarbrough ran for 132 yards on seven carries in the first half but just 12 on seven rushes in the second half. (Photo by T.G. Paschal)


TUSCALOOSA | After giving up 34 unanswered points from the waning seconds of the first half through the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Northridge Jaguars had a late surge, but it was not enough as they fell to the Pelham Panthers 34-27 on Friday night.

 

“They fought right back,” Pelham (4-1) coach Brett Burnett said. “It was a good high school game, and we were fortunate to come out with a win.”

 

Finding itself down 34-14 with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter, Northridge relied heavily on James Cox, who caught five passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns and brought Northridge within one possession of Pelham’s lead.

 

“We just found something as the game progressed,” Northridge coach Mike Smith said.

 

Burnett added, “They’re extremely talented and our defensive backs aren’t very tall.”

 

Smith applauded the efforts of quarterback Tanner Cline, who, despite missing practice all week threw for 192 yards and three touchdowns on 19-of-26 passing.

 

Bo Scarbrough ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on seven carries in the first half, adding three catches and 24 yards. In the second half, Scarbrough was limited to 12 rushing yards on seven carries.

 

“Bo ran hard, but Bo has to find a way to play four quarters,” Smith said.

 

Pelham cut into a 14-0 deficit with touchdown then recovered a fumbled punt snap and scored two plays later, making it a tie game at halftime. Pelham took a 27-14 lead with 3:27 to go in the third quarter when Fletcher Johnson returned a punt for a 55-yard touchdown.

 

Cline found Cox for a 15-yard touchdown with 8:35 left in the fourth quarter to make the score 34-20 after a failed 2-point conversion, then again on a 13-yard strike with 2:51 left to pull the Jaguars within seven points. But they got no closer.

 

The furious finish was paralleled by a fast start, but Northridge couldn’t put together a complete game.

 

Cline and Cyontai Lewis connected for a 14-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead halfway into the first quarter, and Scarbrough made it a 14-0 lead with a 60-yard touchdown run with 1:25 left in the first quarter.

 

As the Jaguars (3-2) work toward next Friday’s game at Tuscaloosa County, Smith wants the mindset of his team to change.

 

“The message is the same one that I’ve been preaching all week for two or three weeks now,” Smith said. “You have to put in your work to get your payday. When you’re continuously living off of last year’s results and you’re not putting the work in, you’re not going to get paid this year.

 

“Entitlement is a huge issue at Northridge right now.”