Flames lose high-scoring game

Northgate’s Eric Hogan (pictured above with the ball) had a great game last Saturday, rushing for 159 yards, in a high-scoring game that saw the Flames lose to Summit Academy 51-33. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames' (2-5, 2-6) defensive struggles continued last Saturday afternoon when they lost to the Summit Academy Knights (3-5, 3-5) on Senior Day by the score 52-33. As usual, the Flames were lit early, getting on the scoreboard first, but running into difficulties in the second half.

The Flames went on offense to start the game and wasted no time. In just four plays they were in the Knights' end zone. Starting on their 35, the Flames went to Anthony Barbarino, who ran behind center for a hard one-yard gain, but on the next play, Christopher Davin threw to Barbarino out in the flat and he rambled down the sideline to the Summit 35. On the next play, Davin was sacked for a 10-yard loss. On 2nd-and-20, Davin dropped back and connected with Jacian Sustayta on a slant for a 45-yard TD pass. So, with just over two minutes off the clock, the Flames were up 7-0 after Heman Darjee's extra point kick.

The Flames stopped the Knights on their first possession, and an interception ended Northgate's next possession prematurely. With 4:08 left in the first quarter, the Knights scored but the Flames held a 7-6 lead after stopping the two-point conversion.

The Flames' next series ended when a bad snap was recovered by the Knights on the Northgate 27, but the Northgate defense rallied and forced the Knights to punt with 3:35 left in the in the first quarter.

After the punt, the Flames were pinned deep in their own territory with the ball on their three yard line. On first down, Eric Hogan ran behind his blockers to get a first down and move the chains out to the 23. Hogan was the workhorse, carrying the ball three out of the next four plays to get the Flames across midfield to the Summit 33. Looking at a 1st-and-10, with the time running out in the quarter, Barbarino got the call, and he picked up a first down, taking it down to the 22.

The quarter ended with Flames knocking on the door, and Hogan running hard to get the Flames to the three yard line. Hit with a false start on first down, the Flames were moved back to the eight, but the Flames would not be denied, Davin connected with Sustayta on the next play for an eight-yard TD pass. Darjee's extra point kick was good and the Flames were up 14-6 with 10:50 left in the half.

The Flames' celebration was cut short when Summit Academy's returner went 87 yards on the kickoff for a Knights' TD. After the two-point conversion the score was 14-14.

The Flames began on their 45 after the kick, but a bad snap recovered by Summit on the Northgate 20 put the Flames in a tough spot. And, the Knights took advantage with 9:36 left in the second quarter, scoring and taking the lead 22-14.

The Flames went three-and-out and were forced to punt after the Knights' kick. But, Hogan ended Summit's next possession when he went up high to come down with an interception that gave Northgate the ball on their 10.

The Flames were unable to take advantage of the turnover, and were forced to punt, but the Knights fumbled on the return and Sustayta came up with it on the Summit 15. On first down, Hogan carried it down to the 11. Davin's pass fell incomplete on the next play, and Barbarino was caught in the backfield for a four-yard loss on third down. Enter Heman Darjee, who booted a 22-yard field goal with 1:42 left in the half to make the score 22-17.

After the half, the Knights came out of the locker focused on scoring, and that is what they did. The Knights scored 22 points in the third quarter before the Flames could get their offense moving. So, with 4:23 left in the third quarter, the score was 44-17, and the Flames had the ball on their 45 after the Summit kick.

Davin began the series by tossing a quick strike to Gary Hairston, who took the ball across midfield to the Knights' 48. Then Davin, Hogan and Barbarino all shared the load, moving the ball to the 31, picking up the first down. The third quarter ended with Hogan carrying the ball to the 19, and on 1st-and-10, Paul Morris got the call, and he ran hard to the 10-yard line. Morris picked up the first down on the next play, and then Hogan capped off the series, taking it in from the eight for a Northgate TD. Hogan threw to Sustayta for the two-point conversion, and the Flames were down, 44-25.

The Flames stopped the Knights on the next series, and after the punt Northgate set up shop on their 16. After runs by Davin and Hogan, and a 13-yard pass to Morris, the Flames were out to the 43. Then Barbarino got the call, and ran off left tackle and down the sideline to the Knights' 34. Barbarino and Hogan took turns hammering the Summit line before moving the chains down to the 13, and that is when he ran left before turning it back inside for the Northgate TD. On the two-point conversion, Hogan found Sustayta in the back of the end zone and the score was 44-33 with 4:10 left in the game.

Summit Academy was able to put one more TD on the board to make the score 52-33 after the two-point conversion, and that would be the final.

Hogan finished the day with 159 yards rushing, and Davin completed 11 of 23 passes for 131 yards passing.