North Point’s Playoff Struggles Continue in Annapolis
November 14, 2016
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History has a way of repeating itself. For the North Point Eagles Football team, regular seasons are a blur. Their skill, speed, and talent has always been there. The Eagles had another great regular season, finishing at 9-1. But now 7 of the last 9 years, the North Point Eagles couldn’t make it out of the first round of the 4A playoffs. The Eagles fell to the Annapolis Panthers 45-21 Friday night, ending yet another season that seemed destined for success in the postseason. When asked what they needed to do to be successful against Annapolis, senior wide receiver Jackoby Wilson said, “We need to play our game and be ahead of them for 45 minutes.” But the Eagles didn’t get the start they were looking for. The game was back and forth for a while as both offenses showed off their speed and skill. The Panthers struck first, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Eagles responded with a touchdown of their own as Junior quarterback Jemichael Jones connected with Junior wide receiver Johnathon Riley on a touchdown strike, tying the game at 7-7. Riley said he prepared for the match-up in practice by “working on the little things, beating my man to the ball and practicing my routes.” Throughout their regular season, Annapolis had been known for their running game. Friday night, it was in full effect as they once again jumped out in front 14-7 in the second quarter with a rushing touchdown by running back Demorie Carey. The Eagles came right back and got on the board again with their offense. The Eagles struck on a screen pass for a touchdown tying the game 14-14 late in the second quarter, which ended with one untimed play right before halftime with the score tied at 14-14 and North Point receiving the second half kickoff. From their own 30 yard line, the play call by North Point’s coaching staff is still questionable. Jones rolled to his weak side and was pressured by the Panthers defense, who got to Jones and knocked the football loose. The Panthers defense scooped up the football and returned the fumble for a touchdown, stunning and exciting the crowds. That gave the Panthers a 21-14 lead at the break. If North Point simply took a knee, they would’ve been tied and in a good position coming out of halftime. North Point did have a lot of time to come back in the second half, but the offense was not clicking after halftime. A few interceptions and some forced throws over the middle caused the Eagles to punt the football. The Eagles had success running in the first half, but during the second half, it seemed to disappear. The combination of Jones and Junior running back Omar Poole were not a threat in the second half. Annapolis held a 31-21 lead heading into the 4th quarter. Panthers running back Cameron Hugh broke the game open with a 98 yard touchdown run, making it 38-21. Another late touchdown sealed the scoring and the game for the Panthers. It was yet another heartbreaker for the Eagles, who finished the season with a 9-2 record.