Greensboro, NC- Northwest Guilford has had Friday, September 2, 2016, circled on its calendar for almost an entire year. There were pictures of the scoreboard from last year’s game against Northern Guilford in the weight room, so every time a member of the football team did a rep, he saw what the team was working for. All of that hard work finally paid off for the Vikings on Friday when they beat their arch-rival, Northern Guilford, by a commanding 47-20 score.
But the score alone doesn’t tell the whole story.
The game was close after 24 minutes of play – tied at 14 – but it became the Thomas Hennigan show in the second half.
Northern won the opening coin toss and deferred, giving the ball to the powerful Viking offense, which has scored 106 points in its first two games.
The Vikings quickly took advantage of the first possession when, on the sixth play of the opening drive, junior receiver Tre Turner caught a 27-yard pass from Jacob Leonard with 9:29 remaining in the first. It looked as though Northwest was going to do what most had anticipated: blow out the Nighthawks.
Myron (M.J.) Frazier wasn’t going to let Northern go down without a fight.
Frazier took the Nighthawks’ first play from scrimmage to the house on a 78- yard rush, stunning Northwest fans.
The Nighthawks continued their first quarter dominance on a ten-play, 46-yard drive that was punctuated by Garrett Marsh’s 10-yard touchdown reception. The drive was led by the legs of Frazier, who got his team to the red-zone.
The Nighthawks’ Brad Cranford was ejected with 2:27 to play in the opening quarter. The penalty seemed to give momentum to the Vikings, who were trailing 14-6.
The Vikings began the 2nd quarter with the ball, and on the first play of the quarter, senior Thomas Hennigan fumbled as he was tackled from behind inside the 10-yard line. Northern’s Ford Moser jumped on the loose ball, the only Viking turnover in the game.
The Vikings’ defense picked up Hennigan, their senior captain and Appalachian State commit, and forced the Nighthawks to punt on the drive following the fumble.
When the Vikings got the ball back, they once again drove the ball downfield, and Kyle Finnie ran the ball five yards for the score with 4:45 remaining. The score was knotted at 14 and remained that way at halftime.
With the game tied, Northwest coach Jared Rolfes delivered a message of battling adversity and settling down to win during his message to his team in the locker room.
“I came in and told the defense, ‘Guys, we’re better than them up front, just settle down’,” Rolfes said of his momentum-building speech. “Once we settled down we were fine.”
The Nighthawks weren’t giving up easy, though, and they showed that when Myron Frazier broke out up the middle on Northern’s second play of the third quarter, and this time only needed 70 yards to score. Frazier was a dominant force for the Nighthawks in the game. He didn’t rush for negative yardage until the 4th quarter and led the offense for the visiting team.
Although Frazier stood out, there was brighter shining star on the field on this night. Number seven in red, Thomas Hennigan.
Hennigan came out and scored five touchdowns after halftime. One 47 yard reception, and runs of 17, 34, 9, and 2 yards respectively for scores. The Vikings had risen to the occasion.
Hennigan talked about stepping up his game after the turnover in the 1st half and leading his team to a victory.
“I didn’t have the best first half in the world,” the senior said. “My offensive line just kept opening up holes, and I was hitting them in the 2nd half.”
The win is the first for Northwest against Northern on the field. Its only victory over Northern before this one came in 2009 as the result of a forfeit after the Nighthawks were penalized by the NCHSAA.
Rolfes, who was the offensive coordinator at Northern in 2013 before taking the head coaching job at Northwest, spoke for all of the Viking players and his staff when he talked about how big the win was.
“It feels really good,” he said. “I hope that everyone knows it, too.”
The Vikings have improved to (3-0) and completed “Operation Nighthawk Down” as Rolfes dubbed it.
Northwest takes on the Southeast Guilford Falcons next week at home, where they will look to remain undefeated and continue their overpowering offense. The Viking offense has scored 153 points in their three games so far this season.
Northern Guilford will look to get its first win of the season under new head coach Erik Westberg next Friday night, on the road once again, against Burlington Williams. The Nighthawks are (0-2) after the loss.
NG: 14 0 6 0 – 20
NWG: 6 8 36 7 – 47
NWG: Tré Turner 27 pass from Jacob Leonard (Pass Failed)
NG: Myron Frazier 78 rush (Nick Carter kick)
NG: Garrett Marsh 10 pass from Tyler Flippin (Carter kick)
NWG: Kyle Finnie 5 run (Thomas Hennigan run)
NG: Frazier 70 run (kick failed)
NWG: Hennigan 47 pass from Leonard (Cody Creed kick)
NWG: Hennigan 17 run (pass failed)
NWG: Hennigan 34 run (Creed kick)
NWG: Hennigan 9 run (kick failed)
NWG: Hennigan 2 run (Creed kick)
Thomas Hennigan- 1-1 8yds; 17 rush 162yds 4 TD; 3 rec 71yds TD
Jacob Leonard- 10-14 196yds TD; 7 rush 42yds
Kyle Finnie- 7 rush 23yds TD
Tre Turner: 4 rec 100yds TD
Myron (M.J.) Frazier- 26 rush 232 yds, 2 TD
Tyler Flippin- 7-21 71yds, TD, INT; 1 rush 4yds
Garrett Marsh- 2 rec 26yds TD
Guilford County High School Football Top-10 Poll (9/2/16)
T2- Northwest Guilford
4- Southwest Guilford
5- Southeast Guilford
6- H.P. Christian
7- Southern Guilford
8- H.P. Central