Northeast Academy upends Halifax Academy
HALIFAX – The momentum on the field and in the stands belonged to Northeast Academy and now so does a Division Championship.
The Eagles traveled to rival Halifax Academy Thursday night for a game with implications beyond just bragging rights. The winner would claim the east division championship and a number two ranking going into next week’s state playoffs, plus home-field advantage for the first two playoff games.
With both teams averaging 40 points a game it figured to be an offensive showdown, but the Vikings offense was all but nonexistent. Northeast compiled 685 yards of total offense, including 519 on the ground as they cruised to a 56-14 win, improving to 9-1 overall and 5-0 in the conference.
Senior running back Brandon Futrell torched the Halifax defense for 366 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, 54 more yards than the Vikings total offensive output. He was awarded the game ball for his efforts in leading the Eagles to their first Division title and their third win over the Vikings in as many years.
“Brandon came sick tonight and gave 120%,” said Eagles’ Head Coach Collin Sneed. “He played until he couldn’t play anymore. I don’t know how many yards he had but now I know how much heart he has.”
Hunter Deloatch touched the ball 12 times for 75 yards. Sophomore quarterback Davis Harrell rushed for 66 yards and completed eight of fifteen passes for 110 yards.
The Vikings were shutout in the second quarter as the Northeast defense allowed only three first downs and forced two fumbles. Russ Flythe had 15 tackles followed by Arch Harrell and Hall Edwards with 12 each.
“I can’t say enough about the guys who stepped up tonight,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Jermaine Vaughan.
Halifax jumped out to an early lead after Ryan Rawlings scored a 47-yard touchdown on the third play of the game. Lewis Conger kicked the extra point to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead.
On their first possession Northeast turned the ball over on downs, but the Eagles defense got the ball back, holding the Vikings to three-and-out.
The snap went over the punter’s head forcing Rawlings to pick the ball up and try to make the first down. A tackle by Edwards gave Northeast the ball on the Halifax 28-yardline. Six plays later Futrell leapt over the defender and ran six yards for the score. Futrell carried in the conversion for to give Northeast an 8-7 advantage.
The Vikings came right back with Phillip Meyers taking the ball up the middle 37 yards for the score. Conger’s kick sailed through the uprights as Halifax regained the lead, 14-8.
They wouldn’t have the lead for long. Less than one minute later, on second down and nine, Futrell found a hole in the defensive line and raced 75 yards to paydirt. Halifax stopped the conversion run, leaving the score tied at 14 going into the second quarter.
The Eagles took the lead for good on a 12-yard run by Harrell just 56 seconds into the second quarter. The conversion run failed as Northeast moved out front, 20-14.
Halifax was forced to punt and the Eagles set up on their own 17-yardline. Eleven plays later, Deloatch crossed the goal line on a three-yard run. A. Harrell muscled in the conversion for a double digits Northeast advantage.
Deloatch scored again with 39 seconds left in the second quarter, this time on a 16-yard run. The conversion run was stopped as the Northeast took a 34-14 lead at the half.
The Eagles ran over three minutes off the clock on their next scoring drive. Six runs netted 16 yards before D. Harrell connected with Deloatch for 21 yards. Two plays later Harrell found Jud Smith in the end zone for the 20-yard score. Futrell carried in the conversion as the Eagles stretched their lead to 28 (42-14).
Wesley Bryant recovered a Halifax fumble to start the fourth quarter, setting the Eagles up on the Vikings 42-yardline. Northeast started their drive with a four yard pass from D. Harrell to Deloatch and ended it with a D. Harrell’s 14 yard pass to Smith for the score. James Pope shook off the defender, carrying in the conversion run for a 50-14 Northeast lead.
The Vikings then turned the ball over on downs and the Eagles wasted little time. D. Harrell’s pass to Caleb Newsome gained 26 yards and moved the chains to the Northeast 42-yardline. Futrell gained 29 yards on four carries.
With Deloatch calling the plays the Eagles moved the final 58 yards with Pope’s two yard run capping off the drive. D. Harrell took a knee on the conversion run as the Eagles took a 56-14 victory and the division championship.
The Vikings were led by Rawlings who, after rushing for 350 yards and eight touchdowns against Rocky Mount last week, was held to 123 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown.
The win gives Northeast a number two seed and Halifax a probable three seed entering next weeks’ North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs. The Eagles will open the first round of the playoffs at home Friday night.