Northside traveled up I-75 to Henry Co. to take on the Union Grove Wolverines for their first contest of the 2010 season. The game marked the beginning of the Coach Kevin Kinsler Era as the long time assistant made his head coaching debut following the retirement of legendary coach Conrad Nix.
The Eagles were forced to punt on their first possession of the game, but senior cornerback Joe Sturn got the ball right back for the offense when he picked off a Wolverine pass and returned it 10 yards. The Eagles again stalled and were forced to attempt a field goal, and junior Dillon Mixon delivered a 20 yarder at the 4:38 mark of the first quarter to give Northside a 3-0 lead.
The Eagle defense forced a punt on the next Union Grove series and junior cornerback Steven Nelson picked up the rolling punt, started right, then cut back to the left and raced all the way to the endzone for a 65 yard punt return touchdown with 2:07 left in the first quarter. Mixon’s PAT made the score 10-0 in favor of the Eagles. The Eagle offense began to get untracked late in the second quarter and with 1:39 left in the half, senior Shaquille O’Neill ran into the endzone from 2 yards out. O’Neill set himself and the Eagle offense up for the short TD run by hauling in 24 yard and 30 yard receptions from senior QB Briar Van Brunt. Mixon’s PAT made the score 17-0. The Eagles were far from finished for the half as junior Taz Thomas picked off another Union Grove pass and returned it 40 yards deep into Wolverine territory. Three plays later, O’Neill again plowed into the endzone from 2 yards out to put the Eagles up 24-0 (with Mixon’s third PAT) with 15 seconds left in the first half.
The Eagle defense dominated the first half of the game. In addition to the 2 interceptions, Northside held Union Grove to minus 2 yards of total offense and no first downs.
In the third quarter, the Eagle defense continued its stellar work when Deillouse Jackson recovered a fumble at the Wolverine 17 yard line. Two plays later, junior Marte Polk scampered in from 4 yards out at the 9:58 mark of the third quarter. Dillon Mixon was perfect again and the Eagles now led 31-0. On their next possession, the Eagles flew down the field behind the passing of senior QB Dan Masteller (4-4 for 43 yards on the drive) and culminated the 9 play/59 yard drive with another rushing TD from Polk – this time from 6 yards out. Mixon’s fifth and final PAT ended the scoring on the night with 2:15 left in the third quarter. Twenty seconds later, the teams were sent to their respective locker rooms because of lightning, and thirty minutes after that the game was officially called at the 1:55 mark of the third quarter giving the Eagles and Coach Kinsler a 38-0 victory in their first game of the 2010 campaign.
The Eagles will have the home opener next Saturday night at the MAC when they host Kendrick of Columbus for the first time since 1979.