PITTSBORO — Northwood’s homecoming game in Week 7 against Person High was moved up a day to Thursday because of impending heavy rain and winds brought on by Hurricane Ian. One might think having 24 hours less to prepare would lead to a sloppy, dull affair, but it was anything but.
Trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, the Chargers mounted a furious comeback, but ultimately fell short to Person, 36-34, at home Thursday night. In a game full of big plays and momentum swings, the Rockets (4-2, 2-0 Conf.) delivered the heaviest blows, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns that proved the ultimate difference.
Northwood (3-4, 1-2 Conf.) opened the game by scoring first, as junior Ashton Elliott ran for a touchdown to put the Chargers up 7-0, but it would be the last time head coach Chris Kenan’s team scored points for a while.
Person scored the next three touchdowns unanswered, but managed to miss all three extra points, to make it 18-7. With the game in danger of getting out of hand, Northwood senior quarterback Will Smith led the Chargers down the field and scored on a keeper to cut things back to a one-score game at 18-14.
Momentum wouldn’t stay with Northwood long, as Person immediately responded to Smith’s score with a long touchdown pass to make it 24-14. On the Chargers’ next drive, Smith was intercepted by a Rockets defender, who returned it to the end zone to quickly make things 30-16.
Northwood could have let the pick-six deter them from competing late in the game, but the mistake only strengthened the Chargers’ resolve. After scoring a quick touchdown it 30-20, Northwood shaved the deficit to three points, 30-27, after a touchdown by receiver Antoine Brewington.
After forcing a punt on Person’s next drive, Northwood looked poised to take the lead for the first time since the first quarter, but after driving into Rockets’ territory, the Chargers were intercepted again by Person senior Julian Crawley, who returned the ball 99 yards for a touchdown to make it 36-27 in the fourth quarter.
Northwood responded with a scoring drive, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run by Smith with 5:34 left in the fourth quarter to cut the game to 36-34, but it would be the final time either team scored Thursday night.
Crawley was the star of the show for Person, scoring twice on interception returns and adding both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Northwood held the Rockets to just 212 yards of total offense, but Person made the most of its opportunities to get revenge on the Chargers after falling to them, 21-7, at home last season.
Now 3-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play, Northwood is in fifth place in 3A East Conference 25 league standings behind Eastern Alamance, Person, Williams and Western Alamance.
The Chargers have a bye week in Week 8. They return to action Oct. 14 on the road at Orange High. Northwood defeated Orange, 34-6, at home last season and 6-8 all-time against the Panthers since 2005.
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