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Bessemer City starts quick, wins big over Northridge


Bessemer City's Joe Harrell (33) tries to stop Malyk Ervin (85) of Northridge during a game against Bessemer City at Northridge High School Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter | The Tuscaloosa News)


By Kelly Ward

Bessemer City missed its first extra point against Northridge, but that was the last miss in a 34-10 victory over the Jaguars.

The Tigers got off to a quick start, putting up six points in the first four minutes of the game. Quarterback Marcus Key ran the ball in from 11 yards out for the first of his two rushing touchdowns. The other came with less than thirty seconds left in the first half on a 14-yard run. He rushed for 167 yards on the game.

The senior also threw for two touchdowns, both in the second quarter. He passed for a total of 228 yards, and 160 of those came in the first half.

Northridge didn't go down without a fight. After quarterback Michael Cline was retired due to injury, the Jaguars relied on two quarterbacks to fill in for him: sophomore Tommy Bryant and junior Kyle Stuart. The two combined for 82 yards passing in the second half. Stuart threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Malyk Ervin in the fourth quarter to put the Jaguars' final points on the board.

"I've said this all year, we feel like we've got three (quarterbacks)," Northridge coach Michael Smith said. "The starter got hurt — he's been battling an injury all year — so the other two, we just give them (chances). We weren't rotating them out every series. We thought that we would give them more of a chance to get in sync and figure out which one can do it."

The three quarterbacks passed for a total of 169 yards. The Jaguars tried their running game early, but after being held to 6 yards in the first half they stuck to its passing game for the most part.

"We couldn't get (anything) going on our running game, and that came down to execution," Smith said. "It wasn't (anything) that they hadn't been prepared for. We thought we'd just change the tempo up, and it seemed to move the ball for us. Maybe we should've went to it earlier."

Bessemer City, however, was able to capitalize on its running game. The Tigers rushed for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Northridge's defense came out to play in the second half, allowing only one score after intermission, a 6-yard run by Frederick Townsend.

"We didn't execute anything in the first half," Smith said. "Second half, defense came out and executed, but we still didn't execute on offense. The game came down to execution, and we didn't execute."

Bessemer City improved to 8-1 and 6-1 in Class 6A, Region 5 play. Northridge fell to 1-8, 1-6 in region play, and will close out by hosting Paul W. Bryant next Thursday.