Vikings score second victory in school history over Northern

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“This is our house. This our house.” This phrase thundered through Northern Guilford’s football stadium Friday night. The student section chanting it; however, was from the visitors’ side of the field, with the Vikings seeing the final seconds of the 4th quarter tick down on the purple and black scoreboard. Zero to 14, Viking victory.

This scene on Friday was a monumental victory with Northern Guilford being Northwest’s main rival. The rivalry dates back to when Northern was first opened, in 2008. Despite being a 3A school, the Nighthawks had beaten the Vikings in football every year up until 2016 when Northwest won at a home game. This year’s contest served to prove whether or not that would be the first of many victories or if it was just a lucky fluke.

“The rivalry is so important to us because it took us so [long] to beat them after their school opened,” junior linebacker Jacob Scheponik said. “For a lot of us, we were excited to be the first Northwest team to beat Northern at their stadium.”

The Vikings started off strong in the first quarter with quarterback Johnny Pagano hitting Tre Turner for an 85-yard touchdown. After this touchdown, for the rest of the quarter, both teams locked down their defense and there were no more points put on the board. The Vikings kept putting on the pressure and were able to break through Northern’s defense later in the half, Pagano finding Cameron Cloud for a 22-yard touchdown. For the rest of the game, it was a battle of defense, the game ending without any other scoring drives by either team.

“Last week against Southeast was probably our best performance,” Viking coach Kevin Wallace said. “To respond to how we played the week before, we really stepped up big.”

The Vikings almost let two touchdowns slip by, Northern getting into the end zone twice; however, both were unsuccessful due to penalties against the Nighthawks. Despite this, the Viking defense showed a stellar display, with six sacks before the close of the first half. This defense was led by junior Jacob Scheponik and senior Tristan Kilgannon. The second quarter proved to be a bit more challenging for the Viking defense following an interception by Northern. With the momentum they gained from the interception, the Nighthawks attempted a play on a fourth-and-1, but Northwest was able to hold up and stop the Nighthawks from completing and getting a first down.

“I thought we played really well,” Scheponik said. “As far as getting the shutout, that’s the ultimate [defensive] goal every game and it was awesome to be able to do it against Northern in their stadium.”

This win also means something special for coach Kevin Wallace as he personally knows Nighthawk coach Erik Westberg.

“We’re great friends,” Wallace said. “But you know, we’re both really competitive… he’s a good coach, he’s got great kids and a great staff, so they’ll bounce back.”

Regardless of the major victory, the Vikings need to keep a level head and continue their hard work at practice. Northwest still has seven games left in their regular season and this win will be far from the last as long as the Vikings can continue the amount of effort and work they have been putting in so far.

“On Monday we need to put this game behind us,” Wallace said. “We need to fix the mistakes we made on Friday and prepare to pounce on Southwest next week.”

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