In the first half, there was nobody that could wrap him up, contain him or cover him before the damage was done. Antoine Martin broke off big runs and flew by defenders on screen passes. Although Covenant was able to outscore North Cross in the second half, the hole left in the first was simply too much as the Raiders picked up a 48-24 win in the Eagles’ home closer.
“We wanted to make sure that (Covenant) had to guard the whole width of the field, from outside to inside,” said North Cross coach Stephen Alexander. “The game plan was to stretch them with the screens and the outside runs and then just pound them with the inside run.”
After Covenant was able to start the game off with a 25-yard field goal from Michael Estep, it was all about the Raiders’ running back, as Martin had a pair of touchdowns in both the first and second quarter. Martin’s first touchdown, an 8-yard run in the middle of the first quarter put North Cross in front, and it remained that way for the rest of the game. Over the next 17 minutes he found the endzone three more times. The talented back added a 25-yard scoring reception, and a 17-yard run sandwiched in between a 2-yard touchdown catch from Josh Murray. With his team up 28-3, Martin punched in a 4-yard run to increase the lead to 32 with two minutes and change left in the half
North Cross began the third quarter with a quick drive capped by a 1-yard pass from Thomas Weaver to Brandon Trent to make a 42-3 ballgame, but from that point on, Covenant was able to regroup and create some offense to finish the day.
After Chris Shifflett scored Covenant’s first touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter on a four yard run, quarterback Lee Coppock was able to hit Jesse Getchel and Sam Patterson for a pair of scores. Getchell’s was for 15 yards early in the fourth while Patterson’s came from 23 yards out and initially looked like it was an interception for the Raiders, but the junior ripped it out of the defenders hands at the 2-minute mark to end all scoring.
“I thought that we came back and fought hard in that second half,” said Eagles coach Dandridge Payne. “In the first quarter we didn’t have the same fire that North Cross had. But I thought we got better and at halftime we were able to make some adjustments and we told the kids to just go play and they did.”
Shifflett had a productive day on the ground with his 28-carry 180-yard performance. Patterson and Getchell each had two catches with Patterson netting 48 yards while his senior teammate took his for 43.
For North Cross (7-3), Martin had 176 total yards on his 11 carries and 2 receptions.
The Eagles (1-8) finish up their season on the road at Christchurch.