In a tied game at 7-7, Carver faced a fourth-and-2 at the Northside 21-yard line midway through the second quarter.
The Tigers were slow to get the play off and took a delay-of-game penalty, which backed the Tigers up 5 yards to the Northside 26-yard line.
Now facing a fourth-and-7, the Tigers changed the play to one with four wide outs.
Quarterback Xaiyhir Jacobs took the shotgun snap and found Jacobi Cunningham, who had lined up in the slot to the right of Jacobs, in between two defenders at the goal line.
Cunningham leaped and took a big hit, but he held on for the touchdown, putting the Tigers ahead 13-7. Jalen Harris added the PAT for a 14-7 lead with 6:24 left in the second quarter.
“It was a four-vertical concept,” Carver coach Dre’Mail King said. “Xaiyhir did a great job of reading the coverage, and he put it into very tight coverage. It was an amazing play by our quarterback.”
“And it was a great job of (Cunningham) attacking the ball in the air. Those two guys are best friends, so they have a connection that I can’t coach. That they were were able to connect was big for us.”
The delay of game, which was one of 16 penalties for 155 yards the Tigers were called for, may have turned out to be a blessing.
“No, it was definitely going to be a different call, but we got into a situation and got the delay call, so we had to go back to the drawing board and attack what they were going to give us,” King said. “After watching film, we knew what coverage they would give us, so we attacked it.”
Key play: Carver’s defense made a big stand late in the third quarter. Northside trailed 21-7 and was driving to close to within seven but after getting a first down at the Carver 12. The Tigers stopped David Apiag for no gain, sacked Bryce Valero for a 2-yard loss and stopped Carson Parker for a 3-yard loss on a screen pass. Northside had to settle for a field goal and an 11-point deficit, 21-10.
Difference makers: Carver’s offensive line led the way for the Tigers to run for 368 yards on 48 carries.
Carver’s Cameron Jessie carried the ball 20-156 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Swain rushed 10 times for 82 yards.
Carver’s defensive line held Northside to just 38 yards on the ground, forcing the Patriots to be one dimensional.
But Northside’s Bryce Valero did complete 18-of-32 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns, both of to Cordale Scott.
Individual stats: Northside, Rushing, Julian Robinson 1-26. Passing, Bryce Valero, 18-32-1, 192 yards, 2 TDs. Receiving, Cordale Scott 8-118, 2 TDs. Carver, Rushing, Cameron Jessie 20-156, 2 TDs. Justin Swain 10-82, TD. Passing, Xaiyhir Jacobs, 3-7-0, 83 yards, TD. Receiving, Jacobi Cunningham 1-26, TD.
Coach quote: “We have a great offensive line. All of them stuck together and did a great job. We won the game in the trenches, offensively and defensively, no doubt it. Those guys were out captains because we knew we would need to win this game in the trenches.”
Friday at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium
C—Romello Kimbrough 3 run (Jalen Harris kick), 3:19
N—Cordale Scott 9 pass from Bryce Valero (Nathan Robertson kick), 10:08
C—Jacobi Cunningham 26 pass from Xaiyhir Jacobs (Harris kick), 6:24
C—Cameron Jessie 5 run (Harris kick), 7:43
N—Robertson 35 FG, 2:19
C—Jessie 5 run (Harris kick), 6:33
N—Scott 32 pass from Valero (Robertson kick), 5:36
C—Justin Swain 12 run (Harris kick), 2:13
Records: Northside 2-2, 0-1 Region 1-4A. Carver 2-2, 1-0. Next: Norrthside, vs. Americus-Sumter, Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. at Kinnett Stadium. Carver, at Westover, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.