North Moore (2-1, 1-0) ran all over Northwood (1-2, 0-1) Friday night, beating the Chargers, 38-12, in the first week of conference play.
The Mustangs overpowered the Chargers with their physicality in the run game and on the defensive side of the ball. North Moore constantly gained chunks of yards on the ground, even after running the same plays consecutively out of the option.
The Mustangs ran in five touchdowns.
“We were physical tonight,” North Moore head coach Andrew Carrouth said. “I think our guys especially in the second half imposed our will a little bit, and that was a big part of the game.”
Both teams started slow offensively as the first quarter ended scoreless.
North Moore had its fair share of costly mistakes with low snaps and penalties, including a holding call that brought back a long run from senior running back Jakarey Gillis, putting the Mustangs behind the chains in their early possessions.
Despite the self-inflicted wounds, North Moore struck first in the second quarter with a five-yard rushing touchdown — the first of many on the night for Gillis.
Northwood responded on the next possession with senior quarterback Carson Fortunes finding sophomore receiver Cam Fowler for a short touchdown pass. After missing the two-point conversion, the Chargers still trailed, 8-6.
That was the most seen out of Northwood’s offense until late in the fourth quarter, as North Moore shut down the Chargers’ run game and constantly pressured Fortunes in his drop backs, coming away with a few sacks, too.
“I think (Fortunes) is one of the best quarterbacks we’ll see all year,” Carrouth said. “I thought we were able to do a good job with some pressure stuff tonight to be able to get him off his first look and get him worried about where the rushers were coming from. I think that made a big difference.”
Arguably a larger difference maker was Gillis’ ability to find openings and outrun defenders all night long. Gillis found the endzone three times.
The other two rushing touchdowns for North Moore came from senior running back Kolby Ritchie and junior tight end Colby Pennington.
“Jakarey’s a stud,” Carrouth said. “He’s gotten so much faster than he was last year, and he’s also able to bring that physical component to his running style.”
For North Moore, this is its first Mid-Carolina 1A/2A conference win of the season as the rest of its schedule will have conference title and playoff implications.
With that in mind, the goal for Carrouth’s defending conference champions is to “keep getting better every single week.”
North Moore will have a bye on Friday and will continue conference play at Southeast Alamance on Sept. 15. Northwood will host Southeast Alamance Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“Especially after taking the loss from last week, I think there were some people in some organizations out there that said ‘North Moore’s off this year. They’re going to suck this year,’” Carrouth said. “We’ve been preaching to our kids all week that we’re the defending conference champions right now. We want to get that thing rolling, and we want to get back to playing our kind of football.”