Turnovers doom football in first round playoff loss

Pick, baby, pick. The Chargers lost by a score of 56-26 on a frigid Friday night at Northern Guilford, with quarterback Ti Pinnix throwing five interceptions and fumbling once.

There was a bit of a skirmish before the game between Northwood and Northern Guilford.

“I guess they felt that they needed some type of hype to pump them up for the game,” senior Jalen Smith said.

Despite having a good amount of student support at the game, the Chargers got off to a rough start on their second play from scrimmage as a tipped pass resulted in a Northern Guilford interception by defensive lineman Sawyer Lemoi. Later, Guilford’s cornerback Dwain Northcott would pick off Pinnix and run it back for a touchdown. Cornerback Cam Harris added two interceptions and Mook Reynolds came up with another one.

The athleticism of Northern Guilford proved to be too much for Northwood, as it was unable to match up with running back C.J. Freeman, quarterback Cameron Harris and wide receiver Mook Reynolds. Freeman accounted for over 300 yards and four touchdowns, Harris accounted for three scores on the ground and Reynolds caught several passes, including a 60-yard pass to set up first and goal for the Nighthawks.

“We just got down on ourselves after the offense made some mistakes and weren’t able to respond,” senior Jared Worley said.

Northwood was held in check the entire night due to its many turnovers. The team was unable to pass well, and the offense suffered as a result. In the loss, running back Montel Goods and wide receivers Jalen Smith and B.J. Harrington all scored touchdowns.

“We got out-played, out-manned, out-coached, out-everything Friday night,” head coach Bill Hall said.

The Chargers gave up a season high 56 points, more than they gave up through their first seven games combined. The season is now over after the loss to Northern Guilford and Hall has coached his final game at Northwood.

“I didn’t really feel bad for myself. I felt bad for those 25 seniors, the way we went out, not playing up to our potential,” Hall said.

The Chargers finished the season 9-3 overall and 5-2 in conference, placing them third in the conference. Despite high expectations for this year’s team, the Chargers have not made it past the first round of the playoffs for four straight years. For most seniors, football, the game that they have played since they were five years old, is over.

“It sucks to know that I won’t play football again,” senior John Atwater said. “I love these guys so much; they’re like a second family to me. Hopefully I will run into them again in the future.”