One would look at the 24-7 score in Northside’s victory over Americus-Sumter at Kinnett Stadium Thursday night and think it was an easy night for the Patriots offense.
However, it was a different equation that got Northside to that total.
Kicker Nathan Robertson had a career night, scoring two-thirds of the Patriots’ points off five field goals and an extra point. His longest, a 51-yard booming kick that may have been good from several yards deeper, ended the half and sent Northside to the locker room with a 16-7 lead.
“Most teams don’t think of it in high school, but special teams is a big part of the game, especially if you’re in the red zone and can’t move the ball,” Robertson said. “It’s a good weapon for the team.”
Including the 51-yarder, Robertson was a perfect 5-for-5 on the night in the field goal department, adding scores from 31, 27, 26, and 35 yards as well.
“It really helped that most of them were 35 yards and in,” Robertson said. “I feel really comfortable inside 45 yards, so that was a big help for me. The 51, I’ve done it in a game before, so I was pretty comfortable with it.”
“We know how big of a weapon Nathan is and how to use him,” said Northside coach Morgan Ingram. “I’d prefer to be kicking extra points, but kicking field goals is fine.”
Besides special teams, the defense came up huge against Americus-Sumter as well. After allowing 27 or more points in their last three games, the Patriots held the Panthers to a lone touchdown and scored eight points themselves: a 90-yard Caleb Johnson interception return for a touchdown and a Duke Haslam sack of Americus-Sumter quarterback Anthony Payne for a safety.
“I like how our defense turned it up, because we’ve been struggling these last couple of games,” Johnson said. “We played to our potential and really stepped it up.”
Despite all the points coming from the defense and Robertson’s foot, Ingram was pleased with the victory to go over the .500 mark at 3-2 and even their Region 1-4A region record at 1-1.
“That’s what we talked about, getting that first region win,” Ingram said. “It was a hard-fought, emotional game last week. We know we’ve got another hard-fought game this coming week with Columbus. It was kind of a trap game between those two, so we had to fight through that (tonight).”
Ingram said getting his Patriots locked in to face the Blue Devils next Friday at Kinnett Stadium shouldn’t be a difficult task.
“I honestly don’t think getting them excited for this coming week will be tough,” he said. “It’s always a good game with Columbus High. They’re a good team as well, so I don’t think getting them motivated will be hard.”
Thursday at Kinnett Stadium
N – Nathan Robertson 31 FG, 7:44.
N – Caleb Johnson 90 interception return (Robertson kick), 1:49.
N – Robertson 27 FG, 6:47.
A – Anthony Payne 1 run (Carlos Hernandez kick), 1:05.
N – Robertson 51 FG, 0:00.
N – Safety (Duke Haslam QB sack in end zone), 5:42.
N – Robertson 26 FG, 6:30.
N – Robertson 35 FG, 3:59.
Records: Americus-Sumter 2-3, 1-1 Region 1-4A; Northside 3-2, 1-1. Next: Americus-Sumter at Cairo, Fri., Sep. 30; Northside, home vs. Columbus at Kinnett, Fri., Sep. 30.