North Sand Mountain senior quarterback Landon Green had a rough summer, and then threw an interception on his first pass of the season Friday night. Earlier this summer, Green was involved in an ATV accident that left 37 staples in his head.
A game-time decision Friday night in the border war against Dade County, Georgia, Green shook off the early interception, accounted for three touchdowns and helped lead his team past the Wolverines 28-26.
“My first pass last year was an interception, too,” said Green. “I was a little rusty, but I just thank God to be able to play.”
The NSM defense, battered much of the night behind a strong Wolverine rushing attack, stepped up and stopped a two-point conversion with less than a minute to play.
“It was a big play,” said NSM head coach Keith Kirby. “We played with some guts tonight, but we have to get a lot better.”
The win, NSM’s third consecutive over Dade County, overshadowed Wolverine running back Malaki Webb’s performance. Webb rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
“It’s a rivalry game,” said Kirby. “We were fortunate enough to make enough plays to get the win.”
Webb intercepted Green early, and then scored two plays later to give Dade County the lead. Quarterback Makinley Everett scored on the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.
Dade County pushed the lead to 14-0 when Webb scored on a 12-yard run with 11:53 left in the half.
From there, Green shook the rust off and went to work. After Cade McBryar returned the kick 38 yards, Green led the offense on a 58-yard drive, completing three passes, including a 9-yard score to Jonah Pennington.
Following a Dade County punt, Green connected on four straight passes, the final one being a 16-yard touchdown to Pennington. Green and Pennington hooked up again to tie the game at 14-14 with 3:38 left in the half.
The Wolverines threatened late in the half, driving to the NSM 15-yard line before sophomore Derek Bearden ended the threat with an interception.
Dade County regained the lead after marching 86 yards in 12 plays, capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by Webb to make it 20-14 with 11:13 left in the game.
The Bison responded, driving 63 yards for the score. Suffering cramps during the drive, Green, on fourth down, scrambled around and pitched it to Damon Gentle for a first down at the Dade 6-yard line. On the next play, Gentle scampered in for the touchdown. McBryar scored on the two-point conversion to make it 22-20 with 7:27 to play.
NSM added to the lead after Gentle picked off a Wolverine pass. Gentle highlighted the drive with an 83-yard run to the Wolverine 4-yard line. Two plays later, Green scored on a 1-yard run. A try for two failed, leaving the score 28-20 with 3:30 left.
Dade came right back, after Carson Sied returned the kick 40 yards to the NSM 38. After getting a pass interference call on fourth down, Everett connected with Josh Williams for a 13-yard touchdown, setting up the two-point play. The NSM defense stopped Webb just short of the goal line.
Green finished 11-of-15 passing for 159 yards and two touchdowns with the one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. McBryar rushed for 134 yards on nine carries, while Pennington caught four passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns and Lake Bell caught four passes for 38 yards. Bearden caught two passes for 51 yards.
NSM finished with 353 total yards, including 194 rushing, on 48 plays. The Bison were penalized 10 times for 95 yards.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff to fix,” said Kirby.
NSM, now 1-0, travels to Collinsville (2-0) in a key region game. The Panthers defeated NSM last year in overtime.
Dade County, coached by former Plainview coach Dale Pruitt, finished with 308 total yards, including 282 on the ground, on 55 plays. The Wolverines were penalized 13 times for 95 yards.