The new trio of quarterback Jakcob Dean and backs Darius Manning and Dupree Young was stellar in their first game together. The three combined to rush for nearly 300 yards, with Manning leading the way with 122, while accounting for four of the Tigers’ five touchdowns. And they came on big plays as well as red zone possessions, with Young going 67 yards for a touchdown early and Manning scoring what would be the game-winning touchdown on a 72-yard scamper down the line.
“It was a super job tonight,” Nation said of his backfield. “They made some great plays.”
But it was more than the big plays that Nation was proud of on Thursday; it was his teams’ character. North scored first on a 45-yard run by Quan Hogan in the first quarter and was controlling the game at that point. But Kierstan Pendleton came down with an interception on a jumpball in Timberwolves’ territory and returned it 38 yards for the tying score, stretching out at the end of the play to barely reach over the goal line.
The Tigers used that momentum to build a 17-7 lead, and never lost it, though North did cut it to seven points several times, including in the game’s final minute.
“We’re a different team than we used to be; these kids have heart,” Nation said. “When you’re down, that’s where you find your true character. KP provided the spark, and they built on it. Our kids didn’t get down when they scored on us; they came back. That’s what true champions do.”
Follow me @Chosler88