Strange things are said to happen on Friday the 13th.
What was weird about Northshore’s game against Chalmette certainly wasn’t that the Panthers won, but it was the margin of dominance that turned an eye.
Northshore rolled to a 31-0 halftime lead and cruised past the Owls 38-0 in a nondistrict game at Northshore. Panthers’ backups played a large portion of the fourth quarter.
But with the starters in, Northshore’s first-half statistics were hard to ignore. Chalmette didn’t manage a first down until there were less than four minutes remaining in the half. The Owls were outgained 248-46 on offense, threw an interception and allowed two sacks on defense — all before the teams broke for the locker room.
When the game ended, Northshore (2-0) had outgained the Owls 415-57.
Chalmette coach Jason Tucker said it was a combination of Northshore’s stifling defense and his team’s inability to move the ball that resulted in the lopsided decision.
“We have a lot of young players who are under the bright lights for the first time,” Tucker said. “We have a lot to work on.”
The Panthers, meanwhile, looked strong from the start. Coach Mike Bourg said his team had to play better against Chalmette (0-2) after giving up five turnovers in a tight win against Helen Cox last week.
“I am extremely pleased,” Bourg said. “The defense stepped up, and they gave up nothing. And (quarterback) Dalvin Populist was the difference. He played his butt off.”
Populist, a senior, finished 7-for-11 for 168 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran nine times for 58 yards and a score.
“We had to bounce back after all those turnovers last week,” Populist said. “We worked really hard. The offensive line did a great job opening things for us tonight. …If we can protect the ball, we can put up 20 or 30 a game.”
After trading possessions to start the first quarter, Northshore scored with 4:01 remaining in the quarter when Populist ran around right end for a 10-yard score. Austin Dixon kicked the first of his extra points, and the Panthers led 7-0.
A three-and-out by the Owls led to Northshore’s next score — an eight play, 62-yard drive that finished with Bryce Perez darting up the middle for a 13-yard score. Another three-play possession for Chalmette led to a two-play scoring drive for the Panthers. Perez ran for nine yards, and then Populist found KJ Hopkins in the right flat for a 48-yard scoring pass.
The duo hooked up again for a 39-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left in the first half. Dixon had four PATs and a 32-yard field goal for Northshore in the first half.
Populist finished the first half with 148 yards on 6-of-9 passing. Hopkins received 110 of those yards. Perez ran 15 times for 84 yards in the first half. Chalmette rushed 13 times for 39 yards in the half, and quarterback Timmy Alphonso was 1-of-4 for 7 passing yards before halftime.
The Panthers didn’t let up in the second half, taking a short drive by Chalmette and turning it into an eight-play, 75-yard march that led to a 7-yard scoring run by Perez. The Panthers lost starting center Patrick Sprung on the play, however, and he didn’t return after suffering what appeared to be an injury to his left leg.
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