Going into Friday’s contest, North Pike knew that it had to get back on the right track with district play looming. So, the Jaguars leaned on their quarterback in Alijah Martin and senior signal caller did not disappoint throwing for 227 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 115 rushing yards and two scores helping lead North Pike to a 33-27 win at home Friday night over Pass Christian.
“I say it started with the confidence,” Martin said. “We went into the game like we were going to dominate, dominate every drive, every play and this was the result."
Junior running back Damuriyon Montgomery, returning Friday night after leaving last week’s loss against Columbia, also eclipsed the century mark on the ground with 114 yards on 15 carries.
North Pike head coach Chris Smith, pleased with what he saw from his skill position players, also gave plenty of credit to his offensive line after the ball game.
The North Pike (2-3) defense took the field first and made a statement, halting the Pass Christian (3-2) opening drive after Decorey Woodall picked off a Dustin Allison pass.
After the Jaguar offense got off to a slow start and could not capitalize on the turnover, the North Pike defense stepped up again forcing a 3-and-out.
That stop was the momentum boost the Jaguar offense needed as Martin helped orchestrate a six-play, 83-yard drive that he wrapped with an 8-yard touchdown run. Jace Brown added the extra point putting North Pike ahead 7-0.
But Allison and the Pirates put together their own lengthy drive to pull back into the ball game as he found Xavian Chamberlain on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was missed keeping North Pike ahead.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Martin showed that he is just as dangerous through the air as he is on the ground, hooking up with Jermarius Lewis for a 56-yard pass play putting the Jaguars in business. The drive started at the North Pike 33 yard line and after the long pass play and penalty yardage tacked on from a roughing-the-passer call, the Jaguars had a golden opportunity to add to their lead. Three plays later Martin bulldozed his way into the end zone from a yard out and with the Brown extra point, North Pike extended its lead to 14-6.
Another Jaguar interception, this time from Ja’marius Knox, gave the ball right back to the hosts. However, the Jaguars could not capitalize.
During North Pike’s next possession, a 20-yard touchdown pass from Martin to Jacoby Matthews gave the Jaguars a 20-6 advantage.
Early in the third quarter, Martin again threw a touchdown pass, this time a 24-yarder to junior Zamerea Fountain increasing the Jaguar lead to 27-6.
But the Pirates answered right back. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Allison connected with Kameron White for an 80-yard touchdown pass eating into the North Pike lead and making the score 27-13.
Two drives later, Jermarius Lewis recorded the Jaguar defense’s third takeaway of the night with an interception. North Pike, however, moved backwards on its ensuing drive forcing a punt.
Allison pulled Pass Christian closer at 27-20 with a 16-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars countered as Martin hooked up with Fountain again on a 33-yard strike giving North Pike a 13-point advantage at 33-20. “I practice hard wanting to get better each and every game and I came in feeling it tonight,” said Fountain who hauled-in six passes for 141 yards and a pair of scores. “I let God do the rest. I had to step my game up and do what I do best.”
Following the score North Pike’s defense also stepped once again forcing its fourth turnover on the night as Woodall recovered a fumble setting the Jaguars up in Pirate territory. After not being able to add to their lead, it didn’t take long for the Jaguars to find themselves clinging to a one-score advantage.
On the first play of the next possession, Allison threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Moffett making the score 33-27 with nearly seven minutes to go in the contest.
But the North Pike offense converted on a big 4th and short late in the game to keep possession allowing the Jaguars to run out the clock and preserve the win.
“I told the (offensive) line, this is y’alls time right here,” Smith said. “You and the running backs y’all can control it. Let’s get first downs and protect the football. We took (over) six minutes off the clock and never gave the football back. That was some big play and a good job by the offensive line and the running backs.”
North Pike returns to action Friday hosting Amite County on homecoming.