By CHRISSY SMITH
Tammany West Sports
SLIDELL — The Northshore Panthers almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season on Friday at home, but ultimately fell on overtime.
Northshore took on St. Paul’s who has won 33 district games in a row, and took the game down to the wire in OT, but in the end, the Panthers fell 20-17.
The Panthers jumped on the board first with a touchdown by Bryce Perez in the first quarter. The PAT by Austin Dixon was good for a 7-0 lead at the end of the period. Neither team scored in the second quarter to give NHS the lead at halftime.
Coming out in the third quarter, Northshore scored to take a 14-0 lead after a K.J. Hopkins touchdown with a successful PAT by Dixon. St. Paul’s scored in the same quarter to make the score 14-7 by the end of the third.
The fourth quarter belonged to St. Paul’s as the Wolves scored seven points to tie up the game 14-14 on a touchdown run by Marcus Gaines.
In overtime, Northshore had the ball first and scored a field goal to take a 17-14 lead, but then the real story happened.
After the Wolves first two downs, the team lined up for the third down, and quarterback Ryan O’Krepki’s pass fell incomplete, and it seemed as if St. Paul’s would have to settle for a 29-yard field-goal attempt to put the game into a second overtime.
However, Northshore was called for its 17th penalty, a roughing-the-passer call that gave St. Paul’s a first down at the Northshore 6. St.?Paul’s Gaines scored on the next play to end the game with a 20-17 victory.
“We played good enough to win, but we just came up short again. We couldn’t get over the top,”?Northshore Head Coach Mike Bourg said.
St. Paul’s was picked to win the district while Covington was chosen to come in second place. Northshore lost to both those teams in overtime. The last time St. Paul’s lost a district game was in 2008 to Northshore.
“I thought our kids played good enough to win. I felt really bad for the kids. It was just a devastating loss, but we’ve got three games left with our backs against the wall,”?Bourg said.
The Panthers, which was 3-4 overall, believe they need to be 6-4 to make the playoffs, meaning they need to win their final three games, which will be against Hammond, Mandeville and Slidell, all on the road.
“We have led in the fourth quarter of every game we’ve played. We make some plays and then we don’t make some plays. For the most part, Friday night, our defense played their butts off and we scored on offense. We made plays, but we just couldn’t overcome certain things.
“I think that they’re really fired up about the last three games. They think there’s no doubt they can win them, and we are going to be on the road, but I don’t think that matters,”?Bourg said.
St.?Paul’s will take on Covington at CHS on Friday at 7 p.m.