With time for one play, Hidden Valley’s football team opted to go close out homecoming night by going for the win against visiting Northside on Friday night.
Why not? The Titans had started to find some soft spots in the Vikings’ pass defense in the final nine minutes at Bogle Stadium. And they had the ball on the Northside 7-yard line.
One shot at improving to 3-0. …
Instead, it was Northside that exhaled with relief after Hidden Valley’s fade pass to the corner of the endzone fell incomplete.
The 34-yard field-goal attempt by freshman Jeremiah Peterson that split the uprights with 38 seconds to play made the difference in the Vikings’ 25-22 victory.
“No doubts there,” Northside coach Scott Fisher said. “We love him. He’s a soccer kid who does a great job.
“Usually from 47 yards in, he’s good. With the weather tonight, we thought 35.”
Northside had two freshmen to salute on Friday. Peterson’s field goal was set up in part by a 29-yard option sweep to the Hidden Valley 16-yard line by another ninth grader — quarterback Sidney Webb, who had gotten the Vikings (2-1) out to an early 6-0 lead with a 16-yard run in the first quarter .
“We’re a young team, but we’re getting a little bit better game by game,” senior Christian Fisher said. “Tonight it was ground and pound. We like to throw it, but in the rain, it was nice to be able to run the ball.”
Christian Fisher, who is playing through a number of injuries, including a beat up shoulder, had done more than his part prior to his quarterback’s big play. He didn’t see much offensive action until the second quarter, but still ended up being a workhorse, carrying the football 20 times for 134 yards. All but four of those runs came in the second half.
And while he was glad to see his team win, he believed the Vikings were very fortunate to get out of Southwest County with a win. He pointed to a lost fumble in the third quarter that came after Northside was inside the 5-yard line in the third quarter.
“We were in the red zone twice and had fumbles twice,” Christian Fisher said. “The score was a lot closer than it should have been. We were pretty confident coming in tonight, but our freshmen really grew up.”
The Titans knew they had opportunities as well.
Although Hidden Valley never led in the game, its offense, led by a 212-yard, two-TD passing performance by quarterback Grayson Carroll, and 86 rushing yards from running back Jovan Wilson, assured the Titans of hanging around.
However, penalty troubles, as well as a blocked field-goal attempt in the second half, hampered the Titans.
Northside led 16-14 at the half, then went up 22-14 with 8:48 to play on a 1-yard run by Fisher. However, the Vikings failed to convert the extra point, which kept the Titans within a TD and two-point conversion of tying the score.
And that’s exactly what they did on the very next play from scrimmage. A 78-yard TD pass from Carroll to Cross Thompson, followed by Wilson’s conversion run, made the score 22-all.
Both teams’ defense forced punts on the next two possessions, and then Northside began what turned out to be the game-winning drive from its own 28.
“In our heads, we said we can’t lose this game,” Wilson said. “We gave it everything we had [on those final drives]. ... We just need to move on to next week and not let this bother us.”