By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
The Northwest High School football team had no clue Larry Taylor was even on the field at times Friday night, but the box score tells a different story.
Using fakes and a strong offensive line, the Jackson High School senior busted into the open field on fullback traps five times for 115 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-20 win over Northwest, the Vikings’ fourth in a row over their crosstown rival.
On touchdown runs of 45, 44 and 13 yards Taylor was left with just one linebacker to beat when the Mounties bit hard on fakes to the opposite side, and his scores helped Jackson erase an early 7-0 deficit.
“I think on one of his runs nobody realized he had the ball for probably 35 yards of the run,” Jackson coach Jack Fairly said.
Taylor said it was exciting to come through with a big-time performance, but it was all about helping secure a win for the Vikings (2-6).
“It’s a big rivalry, I just wanted me and my teammates to come out here and play the best game possible,” he said. “The offensive line did a great job blocking, the quarterbacks and running backs did a great job faking and that just helped me when I got the traps called.”
For a quarter it appeared the Mounties (0-8) might make a strong push for their first win of the year, but some fourth-down heroics were about all they could get excited about in the first half.
On fourth-and-8 on Northwest’s first drive, the Vikings brought an all-out blitz and Northwest quarterback Patrick Peters dumped the ball off to Grant Wedgwood for a 24-yard touchdown.
Northwest coach Eddie Cobb said he was proud of his team’s effort, but it ultimately came down to a lack of execution over the course of 48 minutes.
Wedgwood totaled 169 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries, but the Mounties could not sustain drives on multiple third-and-long situations and Patrick Peters finished just 5-for-13 for 51 yards and an interception.
Causing much of the havoc on passing downs was Jackson’s senior linebacker tandem of John White and Chas Bedwell. Bedwell forced a pair of punts with third-down sacks, and White was constantly in Peters’ face as he tried to look downfield.
“Chas Bedwell and John White are two of our mainstays and really the heart of our defense,” Fairly said. “If they’re making plays, it means our defensive line is doing what they’re supposed to do, which is control their gaps and keep the offensive line off them.”
Jackson’s Tyler Oliver finished 5-of-8 for 109 yards and two scores. He connected on a 23-yard scoring strike with Mario Harrell in the second quarter and hit Conrad Herring on a 21-yard touchdown in the third.
Herring finished with four catches for 85 yards.