WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- The Houston County Bears' defense forced five first- half turnovers and the offense was able to turn them into points as the Bears earned their second win of the season, 41-7 on Friday over Northside-Columbus.
Kenny Gant rushed for 131 yards and four touchdowns as the Bears took a 20-point lead into halftime and never looked back.
"We had a lot of distractions this week with homecoming, but we had a great week of practice," Houston County head coach Greg Robinson said. "Last week, we turned the ball over four times, and it killed us, so it was good to be able to turn that around. We got a great effort from everyone, and now we can get healthy with our off week coming up. Hopefully we will get our starting running back, Samsun West, back after missing the last two games, but Kenny certainly is earning his carries right now."
Northside was impressive at the start. After a 40-yard kickoff return by Brady Pitts, the offense was able to get two first downs and move the ball all the way down to the Bears' 29. But quarterback Jonathan Karastury fumbled, and the Bears' Chris Lewis recovered.
Houston County quickly took advantage of the turnover. Behind the running of Gant and quarterback Taylor Boyett, the Bears (2-1) marched down the field, scoring in nine plays when Boyett took it in from 11 yards out.
Northside got nothing done on offense after that, fumbling three times in its next seven plays. All three times, Houston County was able to capitalize, with Gant scoring all three times with short touchdown runs.
Houston County also got an interception by Quay Denning in the second quarter, but for the only time of the night, it did not take advantage of the turnover. Northside took advantage of Houston County's only turnover of the night late in the first half. After a fumble, the Patriots drove the ball 39 yards in five plays, with Pitts scoring from 1 yard out.
"We felt like we had played a great first half, and we were not happy that we gave up points," Denning said. "We came out in the second half motivated to shut them out, and that's what we did. We were focused on getting them to turn the ball over because good defenses force turnovers. I think this showed us what we are capable of doing as a football team."