The Mays Raiders were seeking to make all forms of history Friday night in the Georgia Dome. In what ended up being a tale of two halves, the journey got off to a rocky start for the Raiders as Asahnia Aderhold was intercepted by Jayllen Kendrick who returned it 16 yards for a touchdown as Northside-Warner Robins went up 7-0 with 7:27 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles would never see the end zone again in the first half as the Mays defense forced six punts while holding Northside to five first downs and 92 yards of total offense in the first half-74 on the ground. In total both teams combined for 18 punts, 9 per side in the game.
Mays got on the board again after a short Northside punt to Northside 37. Two plays later Aderhold hit Tyshawn Brown across the middle for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Northside blocked the extra-point leaving them ahead 7-6 with 51 seconds left in the first quarter. Mays has had trouble with extra points and fields goals all season and this was a form of foreshadowing.
Mays struck again through the air as Aderhold hit Randrecous Davis on a 76-yard touchdown catch and run to put Mays up 12-7. The two-point conversion failed as Carter dropped a perfectly placed pass from Aderhold.
Juwan Williamson put Mays back in business with his interception at the Mays 37 with 1:14 left in the second quarter. Six plays and 63 yards later Aderhold found Davis on the last play of the half for a 29-yard touchdown pass putting Mays up 18-7 at the half after another failed two-point conversion.
In the second half Northside-Warner Robins went into its bag of tricks to get back in the game. After punting Mays into a hole to open the half, the Eagles withstood several attempts by Mays to break the game open. Mays moved from its own two-yard line to its own 44 with a 41-yard Aderhold to Tyshawn Brown pass but would be unable to move it any further after taking several shots down the field and were forced to punt. On Northside’s first play after the punt they ran a flea flicker that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown pass from Tobais Oliver to Nate Greene making it 18-14 which began to shift the momentum of the game.
Northside would add a 32-yard field goal by Justin Alonso to make it 18-17 with 10:22 remaining in the game. Northside again would stand tall on defense forcing a Mays punt. Oliver-who had been using his legs to gash Mays in the second half, finally broke free for a 47-yard touchdown run to put Northside up 25-18 after a successful two-point conversion pass from Oliver to Weaver with 8:31 left in the game.
From there all Northside wanted to do was stop Mays and they did but after a punt the Eagles fumbled giving the Mays the ball at the Northside 21 with 5:48 remaining. Mays moved down to the Northside one-yard line but a false start penalty moved them back and a third down pass fell incomplete. Mays opted for the field goal which was missed leaving the contest 25-18 with 3:37 left.
Northside would go three and out giving Mays one last shot. The Raiders moved to the Northside 39 before being turned over on downs, clinching the game.
Oliver lead Northside on the ground with 154 yards rushing with 94 yards through the air, 70 on the flea-flicker. Willie Jordan finished with 71 yard rushing in the only game this season he didn’t lead the Eagles in rushing all season.
Aderhold finished 14-of-34 for 290 yards 3TD 1INT however went 4-of-15 for 83 yards in the second half for Mays (12-3). Davis finished with six catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Mays feel shy of becoming the first school from the city of Atlanta to win a state title since Southwest High in 1973 (Southwest became Mays High School in 1982).
Northside (14-1) claimed its third state title since 2006 and first under current head coach Kevin Kinsler.
In other Georgia State Championship Action….
Class 1A Public: Hawkinsville 15 Irwin County 6
Class 3A: Calhoun 27 Washington County 20