HS Football Scoreboard: Northeast takes down ACE 52-26 behind dominant rushing game

With the first cool air of football season surrounding Thompson Stadium in east Macon on Friday night, the Northeast Raiders rode their elite rushing game to their third straight win and ended the ACE Gryphons’ undefeated season 52-26.

Northeast running back Nick Woodford gashed ACE’s defense much like he did in the two teams’ matchup last year, racking up 314 yards before the third quarter ended in what was yet another game-changing performance.

“Once you get a guy like that, man, you gotta take care of him and get him the ball and just let him do what he do,” said Northeast head coach Jeremy Wiggins. “‘Nick six’ makes it so special. It’s a special night any night to see him run.”

The Raiders’ defense also played an important role in the victory, holding ACE to zero first-quarter points and limiting the Gryphons to field goals on multiple later drives. ACE tried to get back into the game in the third quarter, but some crucial pass break-ups limited its offense.

Northeast’s special teams rounded out the trifecta and dealt the final blow in the third quarter, turning the game into a foregone conclusion with a 95-yard kickoff return score by, of all people, quarterback Reginald Glover.

“We switched back to put (Glover) back there, and I know five got some wheels so I knew he could go,” Wiggins said. “I’m proud to watch him.”

The game solidified the Raiders’ scorching start and puts them in position to excel in region play.

“We just wanna take one game at a time, and treat each game like a playoff game,” Wiggins said. “We still want to cut down on penalties, so we just want to get better each week, that’s it.”

The House of Woodford

Northeast came into the game on a torrid stretch despite losing their opener against Mary Persons. The Raiders took down defending champion Fitzgerald two weeks ago and beat a talented 3A team, Carver-Columbus, last week.

ACE, meanwhile, entered the contest undefeated and rolling. Blowout wins across all four of the Gryphons’ prior games showcased a further improved team following their breakout season in 2022.

The game was all Raiders early thanks to Woodford, who scored the first touchdown with just over five minutes left to play in the opening period after Northeast stopped ACE on its first drive. He notched a 50-yard run that set up another score for the Raiders with about a minute left in the first quarter.

ACE fought back in the second quarter, though, scoring a touchdown set up by consistent mid-range passes from quarterback Kaleb Scarbury. Running back Aaron Davis scored to make it 14-7 with 9:44 left in the half.

A third Raiders touchdown in the first half made it a two-score game again with about four minutes left in the half, but ACE blocked the extra point to make it 20-7. A Gryphons’ field goal with a minute left in the second quarter made the score 20-10 going into the break.

The most exciting portion in the game came at the start of the second half, when ACE tried an onside kick but could not recover after it failed to travel 10 yards. That opened the door for Woodford yet again, who streaked 42 yards to the end zone for his third touchdown of the night

The Gryphons fought back on their next drive when, just two plays from scrimmage later, Scarbury connected with wideout Brice Whitley for a 67-yard bomb to the end zone. The Raiders immediately answered with Thomas’ explosive kick return touchdown, though, taking control of the game and never relinquishing it.

A couple of late touchdowns for each side did little to change the outcome as Northeast came away with the win.

Other scores:

  • Perry 42, Peach County 21

  • Veterans 38, Lakeside-Evans 15

  • North Cobb 35, Northside 17

  • Stratford 22, St. Anne-Pacelli 3

  • Jones County 54, Locust Grove 12

  • Warner Robins 29, Dutchtown 22

  • Howard 49, Pike County 0

  • Westfield 32, Mount de Sales 14

  • Southwest 40, Jordan 0

  • John Milledge 17, Frederica 7

  • FPD 28, Pinewood Christian 14

  • Mount Vernon 40, Tattnall 20

  • Rutland 41, Central 20 (Thurs.)

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