Lee County has been unstirred from the #2 spot in the 6A rankings all season long until Week 10 where they faced off against rival Northside-WR. With only a few seconds left on the clock and the Trojans up 20-17 with ball in their possession, Northside-WR was looking for a defensive hail mary to win the game, and they got just that.
The likelihood of victory was glib, but Northside-WR’s staff kept their player’s heads in the game.
“Our coaches told us to go 100% until the final whistle and he told us to play for each other,” senior Mikell Roberts said. “It was just go-get it and don’t let him run the time out,” DJ Hardy added.
Lee County’s QB dropped back wasting time while senior Mikell Roberts came off the edge with urgency. He was right in the face of the Lee QB before you could blink, and what happened next was the best conceivable outcome for the Eagles. Roberts separated the football from the QB, it bounced on the turf, and fellow senior DJ Hardy picked it up. A pile of humanity amassed behind Hardy as he separated from the and raced the final 30 yards into the endzone where he was tackled as he crossed the goalline.
Time expired, and the Lee County stadium was shocked as Northside-WR players and staff poured onto the field in jubilation. The Eagles had just won 23-20 in one of the most bizarre finishes you’ll ever see.
In terms of region standings, the victory was huge for Northside-WR, so we asked the two seniors who made the final play what it meant to take down a rival and the #2 team in 6A.
“It feels great and I feel like we made a statement saying that Northside is back,” Roberts exclaimed. Hardy, who was a little more tempered in his thoughts said, “I wouldn’t say it was a big one more than one needed to put us in a great position these next two weeks.”
Every game is a must-win for Northside-WR if they want to be Region 1 Champs, and last week’s victory kept the door open. If the Eagles beat Veterans this upcoming Friday, that will set the stage for a potential region championship between the Eagles and Thomas County Central on November 4th (depending on how the Lee County and Thomas Co. Central game goes this Friday).
No doubt, Region 1 in 6A is by far the deepest in the classification where any opponent can win on any given Friday night. Very few pundits thought the Eagles would beat Lee County last week, especially while on the road, but that is a testament to the senior leadership of players like Mikell Roberts and DJ Hardy for Northside-WR.
On the recruiting front, both seniors have said their college recruitment has been up and down. Though they are not the traditional size for their respective positions, both seniors play with a huge motor on the field and are very physical tacklers in space who consistently make big plays for their team. Each athlete earned All-Region honors – Roberts 2nd team while Hardy HM – last year, which says a lot considering the depth and talent of their classification.
Both Roberts and Hardy said they would like to finish off their senior year with a Region and State Championship. This Eagle’s squad is reminiscent of about 5 years ago when Northside-WR got red-hot at the end of the season and surprised the entire state by running the table in the state playoffs until they eventually lost to Lee County in the title game.
Right now, there is a lot on the line for the Eagles, and impact plays like what Roberts and Hardy did last Friday will make all the difference in the final weeks of the season. A deep run into the playoffs will also help with each senior’s recruitment, so be sure to follow @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to hear the latest on the seniors and players all across the state.