Northridge edges Selma in defensive battle

Published 1:20 am Saturday, October 24, 2015

Selma fell to Northridge Friday night 14-7. --Alaina Denean Deshazo

Selma fell to Northridge Friday night 14-7. –Alaina Denean Deshazo

By Blake Deshazo | The Selma Times-Journal

Every time Selma head coach Leroy Miles asked his defense to get a stop, they gave it to him, but four interceptions were too much for the Saints to overcome in their 14-7 homecoming loss Friday night against playoff bound Northridge.

The Saints fall to 4-5 on the season, missing out on the playoffs, and Northridge improves its record to 7-2.

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“They let their fans down for homecoming, but they did fight hard,” Miles said. “We came up a little short. You win some and you lose some, but I’m very proud of the way our kids played.”

The Jaguars’ offense gashed the Saints’ defense right out of the gate with a 24-yard run by Roman Payton. Tommy Bryant would finish off Northridge’s first drive of the night with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Johnson, making the score 7-0.

A big kickoff return from Quentavious Davis put the Saints in good field position, but the offense came up short on third down.

Miles rolled the dice, going for it on fourth down, but Aderick Moore was stopped two yards shy of the first down marker with 4:21 left in the first quarter.

In Selma territory, Northridge head coach Michael Smith gambled too, but the Saints defense came up big with the stop on their own 18-yard line with less than two minutes left in the opening quarter.

Both offenses stumbled for most of the second quarter, trading three-and-outs back and forth.

Selma quarterback Kordez Ervin ran for a big first down to Selma’s 40-yard line with just over two minutes left in the first half.

Looking to make something happen with time winding down, Ervin threw the ball right to Jaguars defensive back Kerry Shepherd Jr. for a pick six, putting Northridge up 14-0.

“I take the fault for the touchdown we gave them right before halftime because my mindset was saying sit on it, but I thought we could try to get a touchdown right before halftime to kind of get back in it, and it backfired on us,” Miles said.

The Saints’ defense came out of the locker room fired up. With 8:18 left in the third quarter, Northridge was forced to punt the ball away.

Anxious to get on the scoreboard, Miles faked a punt for the second time of the night. This time it worked, as Herschell Brown found Brandon Hatcher on a 13-yard pass, putting the Saints on their own 30-yard line.

A few plays later Lekedrich Rogers punched the ball into the end zone from nine yards out to cut Northridge’s lead to 14-7.

With 5:13 left in the third quarter, Hatcher recovered a Northridge fumble on the 50-yard line, giving the Saints a chance to tie the game up. But Marquell Moorer gave the Jaguars the ball right back, as Jimmy Anderson picked off his pass deep in Northridge territory.

The Saints did it again, stopping the Northridge offense on third and 11 and forcing them to punt.

“They played relentless tonight on defense,” Miles said. “They came up with stop after stop after stop. Every time we asked them to they came up with a stop.”

Two drives later the Jaguars coughed it up again on the 43-yard line with less than three minutes left in the game, but Selma gave it right back to them on the very next play. Ervin was picked off by Lavest Williams.

“You never know until it’s over,” Smith said. “You’re always apprehensive when somebody has got the ball with a chance to tie the ball game or even win the ball game.”

Selma’s defense put the ball back in the hands of its offense with less than a minute to play. With the Saints’ offense struggling, Ervin threw his third pick of the night, sealing the Saints’ fate on homecoming night.

Selma will host Ellwood Christian next week.