Hale County Upsets Northside 42-21
The Hale County Wildcats (6-4, 2-4) took down the Northside Rams (7-1, 5-1) in a big-time upset 42-21.
From the beginning, Hale County's offense was able to dominate the Northside defense through the air with QB Matthew Swartz throwing for 183 yards and three touchdowns in just the first half. He went on to finish the night very strong, ending 11 of 15 for 314 yards and five touchdowns.
Swartz distributed his touchdown throws between two receivers who both went for over 150 yards tonight. Junior Aziyah Winn had 151 yards and three touchdowns while fellow junior Jamarion Ryans broke the 200-yard mark and hauled in two touchdowns of his own.
While the night started strong for Northside, who scored on their opening drive in just a few plays, things began to spiral quickly. On Hale's first play of their first offensive drive, after giving up a touchdown to Northside, they ran a hook and ladder to perfection for a 60-yard score.
Both teams went back and forth throughout the first half until QB Braden Green for Northside threw a momentum-swinging interception to close out the second quarter, and Hale County never looked back.
Green finished the night with two more costly interceptions in crunch time, taking away any hopes of a Ram comeback. A bright spot for Northside, despite the loss, was the running back tandem of Jace McNutt and Wes Maluda who combined for almost 300 yards on the ground.
McNutt had a huge first half, rushing for over 100 yards and catching the only Braden Green touchdown of the night. Maluda got involved in the second half coming in to relieve McNutt and finished the night with 95 yards.
After the game, Northside head coach Chris Hilliker spoke about his team's performance.
"We've got a lot to fix," he said. " We have to get better on both sides of the ball and show up in a better mindset for practice. I told them early in the week that this could happen and we didn't prepare like we needed to and we ran into a buzzsaw tonight."
Hale County moves on next week to take on a 3-5 Lamar County team. With their quarterback hopefully gaining some confidence after a monster performance, Hale County should be able to carry this momentum into next week and play strong.
"Matthew did a good job, he had a few rough plays last week, but he's been great for us all season," Hale County head coach Mark Hastings said. "He really lit it up tonight and I'm proud of him."
The Northside Rams, sitting a game behind Gordo in the area, play Sipsey Valley at home next week and will need to bounce back strong with the playoffs approaching.