On Northern Guilford’s Senior Night, it was their junior quarterback, Jakob Lenard, who was the star for the Nighthawks. Lenard threw for four touchdowns on Friday night to lead the Northern Guilford Nighthawks to a 35-12 victory over the Morehead Panthers at Johnny Roscoe Stadium in Summerfield.
The first quarter looked as if it was going to end scoreless after both teams failed on multiple chances to put points on the board. The Nighthawks’ final possession of the opening quarter began on their own 25 yard line with under a minute to play. After throwing an incomplete pass, Lenard hit sophomore Chad Turner, who pranced untouched 75 yards for the first score of the game with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.
Morehead’s first points came when Tyleak Scales picked off Lenard with 7:30 remaining in the first half and returned the interception 55 yards to the end zone. The extra point attempt failed and the score was 7-6 Northern.
Following the interception on Northern’s next possession, it took the Nighthawks just three plays to get back to the Promised Land by way of a 43-yard hook-up from Lenard to Turner for the second time in the game. The Northern defense went to work and forced Morehead to go three-and-out, putting the ball back in the hands of Lenard and the offense, who would once again capitalize quickly. This time it took Lenard five plays to find a man who would score. This time it was Justin Julian from 23 yards out. Northern added two touchdowns in 2:45 after Lenard’s pick-six to make the score 21-6 going into halftime.
The Nighthawks’ defense came up big once again against a struggling Morehead offense when the Panthers received the ball to open the second half and were forced to three-and-out. Northern’s first possession of the second half went much better. Their offense was firing on all cylinders and after starting in Panther territory, the Nighthawks were in the end zone after three plays. The third play was a 40-yard pass from Lenard to Julian, his second touchdown reception of the night, making the Nighthawk lead 28-6.
The Nighthawks gained great field position after a shanked punt from the Panther end zone put them at Morehead’s 19-yard line with under a minute to play in the third quarter. Once again, three plays was all it took the home team to get back to the end zone. This time it was a rushing touchdown with two seconds remaining in the third quarter from three yards out by Jaquan Jones to make the score 35-6.
The Nighthawks removed their starters in the fourth quarter and there were a copious amount of flags thrown that delayed the end of the game. The Panthers added a touchdown with 3:19 to play when Shy Lampkin, the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, found Duron King on a screen play who ran 33 yards for the score. The Panthers failed at their attempt at a two-point conversion, making the final score 35-12.
Northern quarterback Jakob Lenard credited his receivers for stepping up and helping win the game.
“We started off slow with bad passes and dropped balls,” he said. “My receivers did an amazing job stepping it up and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts.”
Justin Julian was glad to be able to contribute to the big win.
“I was really grateful for (my contributions tonight) because we have been trying to get the ball to other players and split the stats around,” Julian said.
When asked if he felt his team had a chance to make a playoff run, a confident Julian replied, “definitely.”
Northern head coach Erik Westberg felt his team settled in after some early mistakes and is very confident in his team as they head into next week’s match-up with undefeated Western Alamance, and into the playoffs.
“This win was much needed,” Westberg said. “Coming off a tough loss last week we needed to come back and get this win.
When asked about the confidence he has in his team heading down the stretch Westberg made it known he believes in his squad.
“I’m very confident in this team,” the coach said. “If you look at all of our games this year we’ve been in every single game. Maybe the Page game got a little bit away from us, but we came back to get within 10 points to finish out strong. We lost two close games down to the wire at Northeast and at Rockingham last week. If you look at those two games it’s a different story going into Western (Alamance) next week. I think the sky is the limit. Hopefully we go into Western Alamance next week and play well and we turn it on in the playoffs.”
Northern improves to (6-4) overall and (4-2) in the Mid-State 3-A Conference with the win over Morehead. They take on an undefeated Western Alamance squad in Elon on Friday.
Morehead drops to (2-8) on the year and (0-6) in the conference with the loss. Their final game of the 2017 season is Friday at home against Rockingham County.
(NG) Chad Turner 75 pass from Jakob Lenard (Nick Carter kick)
(M) Tyleak Scales 55 interception return (kick failed)
(NG) Turner 43 pass from Lenard (Carter kick)
(NG) Justin Julian 23 pass from Lenard (Carter kick)
(NG) Julian 40 pass from Lenard (Carter kick)
(NG) Jaquan Jones 3 run (Carter kick)
(M) Duron King 33 pass from Shy Lampkin (run failed)
Jakob Lenard: (12-32) 312yds, 4TD, INT
Chad Turner: 2rec, 118yds, 2TD
Justin Julian: 3 rec, 74yds, 2TD
Ford Moser: 3rec 57yds