Patrick Henry junior Carmelo Taylor did not get a single carry on offense in the first half Friday night.
He made up for it.
Taylor ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns — all after intermission — as the visiting Patriots twice rallied from behind to defeat Northside 29-22.
Why didn’t his coach go to him sooner?
“I guess he wanted to save my energy for the third and fourth quarter,” Taylor said with a smile.
Normally a wide receiver, Taylor lined up at quarterback for PH’s first play of the third quarter. He took the snap, found a crease on the left side of the line and raced 62 yards for a score.
With 2:58 remaining in the game, Taylor took another direct snap and carried multiple tacklers into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown that broke a 22-22 tie.
“We were just trying to get the ball outside and get it in an athlete’s hands, and he made plays,” PH coach Alan Fiddler said. “He was frustrated in the first half, and I told him just to be patient and play.”
All the Patriots were discontented in the first two quarters, as Northside (1-4) used an effective ball-control offense to drain the clock. PH only got three possessions in the opening half and trailed 14-7 at the break.
“We can’t turn on each other,” Taylor said of the conversation at halftime. “We can’t sit here and argue with each other and fight. We’ve got to keep our heads together and stick together as a team.”
On the PAT that followed Taylor’s long run, the Patriots (3-1) turned a botched kick attempt into a two-point conversion that gave them their first lead. Holder James Leftwich alertly found Max Roberson alone in the end zone and floated the ball to him to make it 15-14 PH.
The Patriots expanded their lead on their next possession, with sophomore quarterback Joey Beasley hitting Tashaun Webb for a 32-yard touchdown.
Northside responded with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter, tying the game on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jerel Rhodes after a mishandled punt snap by PH put them on the doorstep.
The Vikings, though, did not have an answer for Taylor on the ensuing possession. The speedy, slithery 6-footer ran the ball four other times before his TD scamper.
“He’s an athlete,” Northside coach Scott Fisher said. “My hat’s off to them; they had a good game plan. Honestly, I thought we played well enough to win the football game. Unfortunately, we’ve got some guys not in uniform tonight for one reason or another, but our guys played hard. I’m really proud of their effort.”
Rhodes ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings, who did not attempt a pass until their final possession.
“We don’t have a passing game right now,” Fisher said. “Zero passing game. We were going to run it 100 times if we could. We stayed in the scheme up until five minutes left to go in the game.”
With both teams missing several players, sloppiness sullied the game. Northside committed nine penalties for 75 yards, while the Patriots had to overcome 115 yards in flags.
Still, when PH had to play a clutch defensive series, it did.
Patrick Henry 29, Northside 22
Patrick Henry 0 7 15 7 — 29
Northside 7 7 0 8 — 22
N—Abshire 2 run (Peterson kick)
PH—Serfass 30 pass from Beasley (Dowdy kick)
N—Rhodes 14 run (Peterson kick)
PH—Taylor 62 run (Roberson pass from Leftwich)
PH—Webb 32 pass from Beasley (Peterson kick)
N—Rhodes 2 run (Rhodes run)
PH—Taylor 8 run (Dowdy kick)
First downs 12 15
Rushes-yards 27-179 52-223
Yards passing 155 14
Comp-Att-Int 10-15-1 1-4-0
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 11-115 9-75
Punts-Avg 0-0 1-23
RUSHING – Patrick Henry, Taylor 12-126, Vernon 7-31, Robinson 1-11, Kimbrough 2-9, Alonzo 1-1, Beasley 4-1. Northside, Rhodes 24-129, Abshire 24-62, McGinnis 4-32.
PASSING – Patrick Henry, Beasley 10-15-1-155. Northside, Abshire 1-4-0-14.
RECEIVNG – Patrick Henry, Webb 4-73, Serfass 3-49, Taylor 2-28, Kahoun 1-5. Northside, Funk 1-14.