FORT SMITH -- Fort Smith Northside has not gotten off to fast starts in the 7A-Central Conference, but it did Friday night against Little Rock Catholic.
The Grizzlies scored 16 points in the first 8 minutes of the game, and added 17 to start to the third period to pull away to an easy 40-14 win over the Rockets at Mayo-Thompson Stadium.
FS NORTHSIDE 40, LR CATHOLIC 14
LR Catholic 0 7 0 7 — 14
FS Northside 16 7 17 0 — 40
NORTH – Bolton 12 run (Hernandez kick), 9:04.
NORTH – FS Hernandez 25, 7:36.
NORTH – Wise 20 run (Hernandez kick), 4:23.
NORTH – King 71 pass from Wise (Hernandez kick), 7:12.
CATH – Alsbrook 3 run (Schneider kick), :19.5.
NORTH – Maffei 30 pass from Wise (Hernandez kick), 8:57.
NORTH – Shepard 19 run (Hernandez kick), 5:37.
NORTH – FG Hernandez 45, 2:16.
CATH – Monroe 1 run (Schneider kick), 6:28.
"I was glad to see us start fast. We've been needing to do that against (Catholic)," said Northside coach Mike Falleur.
Quarterback Derrick Wise led the offensive assault for Northside (5-1, 2-1), rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown while passing for 183 with two more scores. The Grizzlies gained 443 yards in the game.
The defense forced three first-half interceptions by Catholic (4-2, 1-2) and limited star running back Samy Johnson to just 124 yards on 27 carries and no scores. Johnson, a three-year starter for the Rockets, passed the 4,000-yard career rushing mark in the loss.
"I got no complaints about the job our defense did tonight," Falleur said. "The coached had them well prepared and they played hard. (Johnson) is a great running back and he earned every yard he got tonight. We wanted to contain him and we did.
Northside led 23-7 at halftime thanks to Wise, who ran for a touchdown, threw for another and set up another score with a 58-yard run. The Grizzly defense also picked off three passes -- two that led to scores and another that killed a Rocket drive.
"We came out flat and we could never get in a flow, but Northside had something to do with that," said Rocket coach John Fogleman. "We gave up a lot of big plays on defense -- we missed tackles and they had some big chunk plays for scores. At times, we had some really good plays, but when we did something good on offense, we seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot with a penalty or a turnover."
The Grizzlies used a 58-yard run by Wise to key a 70-yard, 3-play march, capped by a 12-yard run by Eli Bolton for a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game.
On Catholic's next possession, Northside's Stetson VanMetre picked off a pass and returned it 29 yards to the Rocket 3. The Rocket defense stiffened and Henry Hernandez booted a 25-yard field goal for a 10-0 Grizzly lead.
A short Catholic punt led to a 39-yard scoring march capped when Wise kept on a 20-yard keeper for a 16-0 Grizzly lead with 4:23 left in the opening quarter.
Wise hit Jackson King on a swing pass and King sprinted down the left sideline for a 71-yard touchdown pass midway in the second quarter for a 23-0 Northside lead.
After Northside failed on a fourth down inside the Catholic 40, the Rockets marched 74 yards in 10 plays in just over two minutes. Brian Alsbrook went the final 3 yards for a touchdown with 19.5 seconds left in the first half to get Catholic to within 23-7.
"I thought our defense got tired at the end of the half because both teams were so fast-paced," Falleur said. "I thought in the first half, we did not take advantage of some things the defense gave us."
Northside put the game away in the third period with scores on its first three possessions.
Wise hit Jeremy Maffei for a 30-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter for one score and Demarion Shepard added a 19-yard touchdown run for a 37-7 advantage. Hernandez drilled a 45-yard field goal with 2:16 left in the third period to give the Grizzlies a commanding 40-7 lead.
Northside travels to Conway next week while Catholic hosts North Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium.
Sports on 10/06/2018
Print Headline: PREP FOOTBALL: Grizzlies' fast start grounds Rockets