PITTSBORO – Rather than Panthers, perhaps Orange should go by ‘Crush’ instead.
Because that’s just what Orange has done to its opponents all season, including Northwood, which it handily thumped by a 41-21 margin Friday night at a packed house in both teams’ Big Eight 3-A opener.
Orange scored first, five minutes into the contest on Ky Muller’s 18 yard touchdown reception off Garrett Cloer’s pass.
Northwood leveled the score at 7-7 in the second quarter as quarterback Ti Pinnix and wideout Jalen Smith hooked up on a 42-yard touchdown pass play.
It was all Orange (5-0, 1-0) from there, however, as Tay Jones exploded for a 94-yard kickoff return and tacked on an 88-yard scoring dash for the team that came into the game No. 2 in the WCHL/Chapelboro.com ‘Super Six’ poll.
Northwood (4-1, 0-1), superb all season in moving into the No. 1 slot, didn’t know what hit it as Cloer added a 1-yard scoring run and found Jeffrey Campbell on a 38-yard scoring strike.
The Chargers, who trailed 20-7 at the break, got three TD passes from the prolific Pinnix, but he also struggled mightily in the first half with four interceptions.
Cloer was a quietly more effective 10 of 14 passing for 197 yards and two scores, while Pinnix was 28 of 48 for 378 yards.
Jones was the star of the night, racking up 141 rushing yards on just 10 carries, offsetting the loss of Patrick Pettiford to an ankle injury he suffered in the first quarter.
Smith snared eight catches for 167 yards and two scores for the Chargers.
Pat Moser’s defense, which came into the game not allowing an offensive touchdown, rattled Northwood a bit in the first half and limited its rushing attack to just 27 net yards.
“We knew they’d get some points but we were able to outscore them,” Moser said. “If a couple of things go differently they would have been in the game.”
Northwood coach Bill Hall was reflective following the contest.
“We’re sad and disappointed because Orange didn’t get our best tonight,” Hall said. “But you’ve still got to give them credit and we know we have got to get better.”