Northeast headed to playoffs for first time
By By Will Bardwell/staff writer
October 25, 2003
Dontray Walker and Maurice Langston each rushed for over 100 yards to help take Northeast Lauderdale somewhere it has never been the playoffs.
The Trojans downed Mendenhall 19-14 on Friday night which, coupled with Quitman's win over Northeast Jones, assures Northeast Lauderdale of at least the fourth and final playoff spot in Division 5-4A. It will be the first playoff appearance ever for the Trojans.
Northeast Lauderdale, 4-5 and 3-2 in division play, pounded the Tigers on the ground all night. Langston, the Trojans' quarterback, led the team with 134 rushing yards, and running back Walker added 116 yards. Between the two of them, Langston and Walker had only one rush for a loss for the night.
The Trojans defense also shouldered its share of the load, coming up with critical stops throughout the fourth quarter, including a goal-line stand and a late stop inside its own territory.
The only major miscue for Northeast Lauderdale's defense went for Mendenhall's first score, a 73-yard touchdown run in the second quarter by Tigers running back Kentrell Cleveland. The game was tied at seven going into halftime.
Mendenhall's other touchdown was also scored by Cleveland, who collected a punt at his own 36-yard line midway through the fourth quarter and returned it inside the Trojans' 5-yard line. On the next play, Cleveland scored to give Mendenhall a 14-13 lead.
With six minutes remaining in the game, Langston led Northeast Lauderdale on a drive that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by the sophomore quarterback his second of the game. Walker had the Trojans' other touchdown on a four-yard run in the second quarter.
Down by five points late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers regained possession with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the game and threatened, completing a 23-yard pass on fourth down and 10 to keep their hopes alive.
Mendenhall faced fourth down again with just under a minute remaining, but this time a pass across the middle was batted down by Trojans linebacker Larry Hopson giving Northeast Lauderdale the win and the playoff berth.