Northeast Lauderdale tumbles to Florence
By By Thomas Burton/special to The Star
October 5, 2002
The Northeast Lauderdale Trojans knew going into Friday night's game that their defense had to dictate after what happened last week. Well, the defense played great, but mental mistakes gave visiting Florence its first victory in Region 5-4A by the score of 7-6.
The loss drops Northeast to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in the region. Florence improves to 1-2 in the division and 3-3 overall.
Trouble began for the Trojans in the second quarter. NELF fumbled at the Trojans 31-yard line. Bubba Ingram picked up the loose ball for Florence. The Trojan defense stepped up and caused the Eagles to try for a field goal from the 30-yard line. Kicker Chad Johnson booted it long but was wide right.
Northeast returned back to their own 20 only to cough up the ball again by Larry Hopson. Cornelius Quick recovered on the Trojan 19-yard line. The Eagles took advantage this time with a 19-yard touchdown run by Adam Jones. The PAT by Chance Johnson was good giving the Eagles the lead 7-0.
After a barrage of penalty calls against both teams, Northeast was able to keep afloat. The Trojans needed a spark and with 4:32 left in the half Maurice Langston took the helm and delivered a 75-yard touchdown run. The PAT attempt was mishandled keeping Florence's lead intact at 7-6.
Northeast started the second half by establishing the run and controlling the clock. Marcus Betts, Langston, and Dontray Walker made headway with huge carries that got Northeast into Eagle territory. Northeast could not capitalize as Florence got a huge hit by Mac Vaughn on Langston that forced Northeast to punt.
With under a minute left in the third quarter, Eric Boyd was called for roughing the kicker. That penalty didn't hurt as the punt by Florence was dropped by Micheal McShane and Florence recovered the ball on the Trojans nine.
The defense made up for it by causing the Eagles to kick the field goal. From 27 yards, Johnson's kick sailed wide right. Northeast hopes of a victory still lingered.
Florence kept Northeast in check by burning time off the clock. With 8:50 left in the contest, Heath Clark led the pack with a 10-yard gain to keep a late drive alive. On third-and-4 David Curry sacked G.T. Thedford causing a Florence punt.
Once Northeast got the ball the momentum shifted, but not the right way. A roughing the kicker and that gave the ball back to the Eagles. With five minutes left to go, Thedford almost let one slip away but Florence recovered.
Northeast had one final chance with 3:41 left, but they faced 80 yards to go. Langston hit Rod Smith for a gain of 28 yards to the Florence 49. But later, Langston was sacked on a fourth down play.