When the North Side defense has been discussed this season, it's rarely been in glowing terms. Entering Friday's game against Concordia, the Legends had allowed an average of 35.1 points a game, giving up 76 against Carroll, 56 against Homestead and 49 to Bishop Luers.
But the Legends were stingy against Concordia, allowing just one fourth-quarter touchdown in a 14-7 overtime win over the Cadets.
Concordia (4-5) had 242 yards of total offense, 218 of them on passes from quarterback Brandon Davis, but North Side (4-5) successfully kept the Cadets out of the end zone for most of the game. Late in the third quarter, Concordia sophomore linebacker James Rusher picked off North Side's Duce Taylor, and on the following drive the Cadets marched all the way down to the 5-yard line and then had that distance cut down to 2.5 yards on a North Side penalty.
But the Legends held off Concordia on the first three downs, and on fourth down Davis's pass attempt fell untouched several yards beyond the end zone.
The Legends defense finally gave way in the fourth quarter. Davis made a 39-yard pass to senior Kam Johnson, who was pulled down by North Side's Michael Dye around the 9-yard line. Senior Amir Drew carried the ball to the 1-yard line, and Davis took it the final yard to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:59 to play.
The Legends had the chance to go ahead with 1:31 left in regulation, but the 23-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Concordia.
North Side wasted no time in overtime, and on the first play Taylor found Ja'Suan Lambert wide open to his left. Lambert jogged into the end zone, with no Concordia defender to touch or even hurry him. With that pass, Taylor became the first North Side quarterback to throw for 30 touchdowns in a season.
“That play that we scored on, the touchdown, I pretty much knew that it was going to be open, it was just executing it,” said offensive coordinator and interim head coach Ben Johnson, who was filling in for an absent Mike Brevard. “All the credit to the kids, they went out there and made the play.”
North Side tackled Drew on Concordia's first play of overtime, allowing almost no gain. On the second, Davis targeted Kam Johnson in the end zone, but Johnson couldn't get a hold of it and North Side's Arieon McCarter almost got the interception. On third down, the ball fell through Johnson's hands as he leaped to catch it in the end zone, and his fourth down pass fell untouched to give North Side the win.
Lambert also scored North Side's first touchdown of the game, a 4-yard touchdown with just over 3 minutes to play in the first quarter. He finished the game with 157 total yards.
Taylor completed 18 of 30 pass attempts for 212 yards.