Beasley Rushes for 133 Yards, Orange Makes 5 INTs to Beat Northern 31-14

Updated: October 7, 2017

Photo Courtesy of Dave Lindaman 

Dave Doeren was at one end of the sideline at Auman Stadium on Friday night. Larry Fedora was at the other.

Bryse Wilson was in the tenth row with his father Chad and mother Tracey, fresh off a long season with the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League.

The stars were out for Orange vs. Northern Durham, but Panthers Coach Van Smith wasn’t focused on that at kickoff. He just wanted to break the Ag Day Curse.

Ag Day is a tradition dating back over 50 years at Orange. It falls on the first Friday in autumn, and Smith dreads it by now. It’s a day full of sunshine, leisure, fun and games for students during the school day, which doesn’t always lead to positive results when his football team takes the field later that night.

“Every year I’ve been here, we’ve started horrible on Ag Day,” said Smith.

This year, Payton Wilson made sure there would be no letdown.

The senior opened the game with a 92-yard kickoff return, leading to Marvante Beasley’s 8-yard touchdown run only 21 seconds into the game.

For that moment, Smith didn’t dread Ag Day.

“All three phases, we started out fantastic,” said Smith. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

It didn’t stop there. The Panthers would roll to a 21-0 start and hold off Northern Durham 31-14 in front of a jam-packed crowd at Auman Stadium on Friday night.

Beasley finished with 133 yards on 21 carries. Junior Hunter Pettiford, who entered the game as the 2nd leading tackler on the team, rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown in his first substantial action at running back this year.

The Panthers made a season-high five interceptions, including two from senior safety Corban Kenion. Ryan Sellers, Eryk Mercado and Milton Purcell also had picks as Orange defeated Northern for the fifth straight time.

It was the first time the two teams met as conference rivals since 2000, when they were in the 4-A PAC-6.

The Orange defense held Northern to 135 yards and 14 points, both season-lows for the Knights, who had its five-game winning streak come to an end.

Orange could have easily led 21-0 by the end of the first quarter. The Panthers went on a 13-play, 90-yard drive tht swallowed up most of the first quarter clock, but Wilson was stuffed on a Northern goal line stand on 4th-and-goal from the 2.


Sellers made an Interception at the line of scrimmage. Paired with a Northern personal foul penalty, the Panthers started a drive at the Northern 20-yard line, but came away empty after a missed field goal

With 3:30 remaining in the first quarter, Kenion picked off Northern quarterback Brycen Jackson at the Knights 27-yard line. On the next play, Pettiford scored a touchdown on his first carry since the season-opening Northern Nash game.

After Orange’s defense forced a three-and-out, Wilson converted a 3rd-and-12 with a 12-yard run around right end. Four plays later, Beasley scored his 2nd touchdown on a 20-yard off tackle play.

Northern’s only offensive touchdown came with 7:53 remaining in the first half when Jackson found Zhameer Uqdah, who stepped out of two tackles on an eleven-yard scamper.

In the third quarter, the Knights trimmed Orange’s lead to 21-14 after freshman middle linebacker Anthony Freeman picked off a Wilson pass and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown.

Orange remained composed and used strong running by Beasley to extend the lead. Beasley started the drive with a 23 yard burst, accompanied by a horse collar penalty to advance to the Northern 32-yard line. Francisco McKinley kicked a 26-yard field goal to put Orange ahead 24-14.

Northern didn’t get another first down. Orange rode out the clock with a 9-play, 60-yard drive where Pettiford had carries of 17 and 16 yards. Wilson scored on a three-yard keeper, his only touchdown of the game.


Northern- 0   7    7    0-14

Orange-   14  7    0   10-34

O-Marvante Beasley 8 run (Francisco McKinley kick)

O-Hunter Pettiford 27 run (McKinley kick)

O-Beasley 20 run (McKinley kick)

N-Zhameer Uqdah 11 pass from Brysen Jackson (Hunter Malsch kick)

N-Anthony Freeman 16 interception return (Malsch kick)

O-McKinley 26 Field Goal

O-Payton Wilson 3 run (McKinley kick)

RUSHING: NORTHERN DURHAM: 17-41 (Daylon Felton 11-21, Patrick Harris 4-18, Jackson 2-13, team 1-(-1).

ORANGE: 51-254 (Beasley 21-133 2TD, Pettiford 8-77 TD, Wilson 19-43 TD, Morgan Paschall 2-2, team 1-(-1)

PASSING: NORTHERN 13-29 82 yards TD, 5 INT (Jackson 12-28 75 yards, TD, 5 INT; Felton 1-1, 7 yards)

ORANGE: 7-10 80 yards, INT (Brendan Huss 5-7, 53 yards, INT; Wilson 2-3 27 yards, INT)

RECEIVING: NORTHERN (Uqdah 6-40 TD, Felton 4-16, Alon Fallen 1-11, Jer’ald Brown 1-9, Jaylon Chestnut 1-8)

ORANGE (Sebastian Flores 3-32, Kendall Whitted 2-(-3), Wilson 1-41, Paschall 1-10)



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