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Nash Central earns comeback win over Northern Nash

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Northern Nash quarterback Davontae Wiggins, left, is sacked by Nash Central's Zalon Brown during the game Friday at Nash Central High School.

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BY PATRICK MASON
Sports Writer

Saturday, September 9, 2017

KeSean Williams wasn't thinking about breakfast. But that didn't stop him from talking about pancakes.

The Nash Central offensive lineman was a focal point of the Bulldogs' 33-30 comeback win over visiting in-town rival Northern Nash on Friday. His big body acted as the battering ram that hammered away at the Knights’ defensive line until it broke.

"He's someone who we can depend on," Bulldogs coach Chris Lee said. "He's our most aggressive lineman and someone we want to run behind."

Nash Central did just that, calling a series of running plays for McKinley Lyons to the left side that were designed to follow Williams.  Lee moved Williams to tackle two weeks ago in order to take advantage of the senior's skillset. His blocking ability was crucial in the final quarter as the Bulldogs abandoned all play-calling creativity.

Lyons ran the ball nine times in the fourth quarter on rushes that were identical to the one prior. No matter what Northern Nash tried to do up front didn’t seem to matter as Lyons ate up yards in chunks.

“When I hear it’s going to be a run play I get excited,” said Williams, whose 6-foot-2, 255-pound frame paved the way for two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns. “The run plays are where the pancakes happen. There’s nothing more fun than battling in the trenches and trying to flatten people.”

Northern Nash opened the scoring when Devin Gregory sacked Bulldogs quarterback Travis Griffin in the end zone for a safety, and went up 9-0 when Austin Curtis barrelled in from five yards out early in the second quarter. 

Nash Central (3-1) trailed 15-6 after the Knights’ first drive of the second half, before the Bulldogs came storming back. Bulldogs quarterback Travis Griffin tossed three touchdowns and passed for 219 yards in a 15-for-21 effort. Nash Central seemed to take control by taking a double-digit lead at 27-15 less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, but the Knights weren’t done.

Knights quarterback Davontae Wiggins connected with receiver Da’Shawn Liggins down the sideline for a 62-yard score to close the deficit to 27-22. Darquez Flowers then picked off Griffin on the ensuing drive, allowing Wiggins to throw his second touchdown pass, this time to Austin Curtis to take a late lead with 4:38 to play.

“We knew the safety was playing over toward the middle,” said Wiggins, who also scored a rushing touchdown. “I knew my guy was fast enough to beat the corner, and he did the rest.”  

The Knights (0-4) couldn’t hang on, however, as Nash Central put together a 60-yard drive that capped the scoring. The drive opened with Griffin and Lyons taking turns between throwing and passing over the first four plays, but when Lyons gained nine yards on his second touch of the drive, Griffin holstered his throwing arm. Lee said it was tempting to keep throwing, but the success on the groun was too hearty to overlook.

It was all Lyons — who rushed for a game-high 99 yards — the rest of the way, running behind Williams and the rest of the offensive line.

“When we go back and watch the tape,” Lee said. “I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of pancakes.”

Nash Central 33

Northern Nash 30

Northern Nash   2   7   6   15   —   30

Nash Central   0   6   15   12   —   33

First quarter

NN — Devin Gregory safety, 3:35

Second quarter

NN — Austin Curtis 5 run (Parker Dickens kick), 10:13

NC — Tarod Brown 7 pass from Travis Griffin (kick failed), 7:43

Third quarter

NN — Davontae Wiggins 1 run (kick failed), 7:41

NC — Byron Hawkins 30 pass from Griffin (Landon Alford kick), 4:47

NC — Jay SMith 71 pass from Griffin (McKinley Lyons run), 1:18

Fourth quarter

NC — Hawkins 16 run (kick failed), 10:25

NN — Da’Shawn Liggins 62 pass from Wiggins (Travis Smith kick), 10:01

NN — Austin Curtis 16 pass from Wiggins (Curtis run), 4:38

NC — Lyons 9 run (run failed), 2:09

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Northern Nash: Austin Curtis 6-8, Bryce Miles 15-70, Darquez Flowers 4-5, Davontae Wiggins 6-31, team 1-(minus 7). Totals: 31-114. Nash Central: Chris High 1-2, McKinley Lyons 17-99, Kendall Winston 2-2, Travis Griffin 5-6, Byron Hawkins 4-34, team 1-(minus-5). Totals: 30-138.

PASSING — Northern Nash: Wiggins 12-25-1, 177 yards. Nash Central: Chris High 1-1-0, 4 yards. Griffin 15-21-2, 219 yards.

RECEIVING — Northern Nash: Da’Shawn Liggins 3-79, Trevor Sledge 5-48, Nyeem Davis 1-13, Bryce Miles 1-1, Austin Curtis 2-36. Nash Central: Jay Smith 6-120,Lyons 2-13, Tarod Brown 3-26, Hawkins 5-64.

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