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Northside shuts out North Duplin in season opener

Northside senior running back James Gorham picked up 222 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries as the Panthers started the season with a 36-0 victory over North Duplin on Thursday night. Check out a photo gallery from the game HERE.

Highlighted by a 79-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter, Gorham’s big night complimented Northside’s staunch defensive effort.

“I saw a lot of great effort,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said. “Of course there’s some things we need to work on, but for the most part we executed the basic plays we wanted to execute. On defense we rallied around the ball and played hard.

“Assignment-wise, offensively, defensively and special teams, for it being the first game in 15 or 16 months, I’m fairly pleased.”

Tyler Modlin added 50 yards rushing and a touchdown on four carries for the Panthers. Briley Cooper had a rushing touchdown as well.

Northside’s only completed pass of the night was a 26-yard touchdown throw from Keifer Boyd to Payton Woolard early in the second quarter.

“Defensively we did pretty well,” Keith Boyd said. “Our linebackers were scraping laterally too much, and we have to start stepping up in the hole. I though our contain guys really did a good job.”

After North Duplin’s game-opening drive ended with a punt, Modlin responded by putting the Panthers on the board with a 20-yard touchdown run. A 45-yard run by Gorham helped set up Modlin’s scoring play.

Following another punt for the Rebels, North Duplin’s Dujuan Armwood grabbed an interception in his team’s territory as time expired in the first quarter. Northside’s defense held strong in the second quarter, forcing a punt and a turnover on downs while the Panthers’ offense extended its lead to 21-0 with Woolard’s touchdown reception and Gorham’s 79-yard touchdown run.

Gorham put the game further out of reach with a 5-yard touchdown carry on the first drive of the second half.  Northside’s defense followed that up with a safety to take a 30-0 lead.

Cooper put the last points on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. A wayward snap ended Northside’s extra-point attempt.

Keith Boyd said his team was ready to be back on the field after COVID-19 delayed the season by several months.

“You could tell they were excited,” Boyd said. “They were flying around, and they had fun. There are so many teams this week that didn’t get a chance to play, and some teams won’t play at all. So we’re just mighty blessed to have the opportunity to be out here tonight.”

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