The Northwood Chargers battled back from a 14 point deficit and defeated the Orange Panthers 21-20 in double overtime in front of a 4 deep standing room only homecoming crowd in Hillsborough last evening.  The Chargers loaded with talent in every phase of the game kept the explosive Panthers at bay using a bend but don’t break defense and an impressive misdirection Wing T offense.

The Panthers struck pay dirt first with 10:18 remaining in the 2nd quarter when #28 Hunter Pettiford running behind excellent blocking by center #50 Taison Farrington and right guard #52 Jeremiah Bailey scored from 8 yards out.  The Panthers added 7 more points with 2:14 remaining in the first half when Pettiford once again ran for 34 yards off right guard for the second Orange touchdown in 8 minutes.

The last 2 minutes of the first half featured a barrage of action when the Chargers had the ball 1st and goal from the Panther 4 yard line but were stopped on 3 consecutive plays by the stiff Panther defense.  The drive turned over on downs from the Panther 4 when a field goal attempt hit the left crossbar and bounded off leaving the Chargers with no points from their effort.  That changed instantly when Charger cornerback #9 Cameron Goins scooped up a loose fumble on the Panther 5 yard line and took it in for their first score with 58 seconds remaining in the first half.  That play turned out to be the pivotal point of the game as the Chargers would receive the ball to open the second half.  The first half ended with the Panthers up 14 – 7.

It didn’t take long for the Chargers to strike gold in the second half when wingback Brendan Harrington took a counter hand off into the end zone from 24 yards out on the 3rd play from scrimmage.  The stiff Northwood Charger defense was up to the task the entire second half holding the powerful Panthers scoreless during the remainder of regulation in the second half.  The score stayed knotted at 14 for the rest of regulation play.

In the first series in overtime the Chargers scored on an 8 yard misdirection run from lightening fast wing back Joshua Scott.  The extra point was good putting the Chargers up by 7.  It didn’t take long for the Panthers to answer when quarterback #11 Payton Wilson muscled his way into the end zone on the 2nd play in overtime from 8 yards out.  The Charger victory was cemented when the normally sure footed Francisco McKinley barely missed the extra point try to the right leaving the Charger faithful ecstatic and the homecoming Panther crowd stunned.  The Northwood victory places the Chargers in sole possession of the Big 8 – 3 A Conference with two more tough games remaining on the schedule.

The powerful and roster deep Orange Panthers moved the ball consistently through the evening even without starting tailback Marvante Beasley who was sidelined for the evening due to an injury experienced last week during the Hillside contest.

The Panthers head across town to their rival Cedar Ridge to play the Red Wolves next week while the Chargers head back to Pittsboro to host the Hillside Hornets in what will prove to be another key Big 8 – 3A match up.  The 97.9 The Hill broadcast team will be on hand to air that game with a 7:00 p.m. kick off.

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